The proposed Oxford to Cambridge corridor has the potential to have ‘devastating effects’ on wildlife, a charity has warned.
The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust has warned all three proposed routes could be damaging.
It has asked Highways England to do a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) and hold a full public consultation on the route options.
Neil Clennell, director of conservation and education in Oxfordshire, said: “If the SEA is not undertaken before a preferred corridor is selected, the opportunity to fully scrutinise the comparative impacts of all possible expressway routes will be lost.”
The trust’s most serious concerns are for designated sites and nature reserves in the areas of Cothill Fen near Abingdon, Oxford Meadows, the Otmoor Basin near Bicester and the Upper Ray Valley and Bernwood Forest in Buckinghamshire.
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, Henley MP John Howell, Oxfordshire MEP Keith Taylor, former Oxford City Council leader Bob Price and the Expressway Action Group have all called for a public consultation. Campaign to Protect Rural England called for a public enquiry in February.
The proposed expressway is currently in the research phase and Highways England is expected to announce its preferred route in July.