A campaign group wanting to slam the brakes on the ‘dangerous’ Oxford to Cambridge expressway has launched a major campaign to drive the road away from the city’s green belt.
Placards reading ‘fields not fumes’, ‘trees not tarmac’ and ‘green belt not commuter belt’ were waved as the county-based Expressway Action Group, backed by 34 Oxfordshire parish councils, launched a poster campaign last week.
Co-ordinator Peter Rutt believes too many people are “unaware that these plans will blight their environment forever”.
He added: “We are gravely concerned regarding the risks that this project poses to our communities and the environment.”
The group which was protesting at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, has not been considered as a stakeholder by Highways England, excluding it from broader discussions about which of the three possible routes would be selected.
Highways England will select the preferred route by July and the road could be built by 2030.
Mr Rutt added: “We know there will be no proper public consultation until after the corridor is selected.
“We are taking the view that as the OxCam Expressway is almost certainly going to be built, we must try and influence the outcome.
“We want the least harmful corridor for the environment. If we don’t enter the debate, we cannot influence it.”
The group was opposed to the expressway project entirely but its members have now accepted that the road will be built.
As a result, EAG says it favours the ‘northern route’ which would cut through land north of Oxford and use the existing A34. The southern and central options would be ‘more costly and do more harm’.
County councillor Kirsten Johnson reiterated the road would have “devastating consequences on the environment for hundreds of years to come”.
The Wheatley representative added: “I am not convinced there is a need for this expressway.
“Any growth should be supported by improving existing road networks and investment in good public transportation. Residents have a right to be listened to.”
The group is calling on residents to feedback to their MPs, councillors and the government.