Oxford City Council statement on Oxfordshire County Council's approval of six trial traffic filters.
Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Health and Transport, Oxford City Council, said:
“The City Council has long supported the need for measures to tackle congestion such as the proposed trial traffic filters that are designed to reduce traffic levels and congestion, to improve bus services across the city and make cycling and walking safer and more pleasant.
“There is an absolute need to reduce traffic in our city. We know that Oxford’s medieval roads cannot handle the current traffic levels, and there is no space to build new roads. The current congestion is so bad that it is making buses unviable, we cannot allow more bus routes to be cut. 30% of Oxford households don’t own a car, and depend on buses. We need to change the way we travel, rethink our own journeys, and support those who do need to travel by public transport, car and bike.
“With any scheme of this scale and significance, it is important that residents and businesses are engaged, and that communities are supported throughout. With over 6,000 responses to the consultation, it is clear that this is an issue which many Oxfordshire residents and businesses feel strongly about and needs to be carefully considered.
“Over the past few years, the City Council has worked with the County Council on engagement and consultation of measures to support traffic and congestion reduction, such as the Zero Emission Zone Pilot and the trial traffic filters. This has included engagement with large and small businesses, community groups, and other stakeholders so that the challenges they face can be taken into account. From this engagement work, a system of exemptions and permits for particular drivers has been developed so that journeys that have to be made by car, can be, and business vehicles can operate as normal. While this trial is a nudge to change the way we travel, car drivers will still be able to drive to any destination at all times – although you may need to take a different route.
“The City Council supports the County Cabinet’s decision to introduce the traffic filters as a trial in order to see how they work in reality, before any final decisions are made by the County Council. We understand the need to delay the introduction until the work on Botley road has been completed. A trial, rather than a permanent scheme, ensures flexibility and the ability to adjust the measures where necessary in response to any unexpected consequences. We intend to work closely with the County Council on continued preparation, introduction, and monitoring of the traffic filter trial, as well as the ongoing engagement with residents and businesses across Oxford to help everyone adapt to the future of transport.”