Need not Greed Oxfordshire (NNGO) believes a new regional transport strategy, that would heavily impact Oxfordshire, is fundamentally flawed in failing to be honest about the level of economic growth it is looking to support.
England’s Economic Heartland, a group of local authority and business leaders, has produced a Draft Transport Strategy for an area covering Swindon to Cambridgeshire. It is out for consultation until 6 October.
The strategy opens with lots of fine promises about creating a zero-carbon transport system. But hidden in small print on page 29, it says:
‘the purpose of this strategy is to support the delivery of the region’s shared ambition with Government of: Enabling the region to realise its economic potential – with an ambition of a 70% increase in GVA by 2050’.
Whose ambition? Who has been consulted on it? Not the Oxfordshire public!
What does that objective translate into in terms of jobs and housing? How will this impact on the ability to deliver the stated climate goals?
How will this influence, or dictate, the contents of the forthcoming Oxfordshire 2050 Spatial Plan?
And why is the intention to facilitate longer distance commuting? The strategy promises to create a single housing & jobs market across the area which will ‘fundamentally change the socio-economic geography of the region’ – but this transformational change isn’t even mentioned in the consultation.
There has been no public debate on this level of growth and therefore there is no public mandate for this position. We demand a much more honest conversation about the proposals and their impacts, so the public can decide whether they agree this vision for the area. Without this, the consultation is worse than meaningless – it will be used to give credibility to a deeply flawed approach.