Reaction to Oxfordshire’s transport plan as county aims to build a ‘zero-carbon transport network’
The councillor in charge of Oxfordshire’s transport plan will be asked to report on how it compares to past policy failures amid doubts over delivery.
The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) sets out Oxfordshire County Council’s vision to “replace or remove” one in four of the county’s car trips by 2030 and one in three by 2040 as part of a “zero-carbon transport network”.
By 2050, the aim is to “deliver a transport network that contributes to a climate positive future” by reducing “unnecessary individual private vehicle use”.
One of the key issues raised during a public consultation was how measures will be delivered and monitored, while there are claims that rural areas and disabled people are not being sufficiently considered or provided for, matters that came to the fore when the plan was discussed by the county's Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee this week.
Councillor Neil Fawcett (Lib Dem, Abingdon South) said: “There are a lot of good policies in the plan, good objectives, nearly all of which I agree with.
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“One thing that is missing, and this is reflected in some of the feedback from the consultation, I don’t see any clear analysis of whether the policies will deliver the headline objectives.
“Given the amount of growth that is coming to Oxfordshire in terms of housing and jobs, I struggle to see how these policies will achieve enough to lead to a reduction in car journeys on the scale that is suggested.”
Cllr Fawcett also highlighted the “lack of analysis over whether previous plans have been delivered and if not, why not?”
He continued: “If you read LTP4 (the previous transport plan), there is a lot of stuff in there that didn’t happen, or it didn’t happen in anything like the way it was anticipated.
“In some cases they were big projects – for example, we were reliant on the rail industry to deliver things – in some cases they were things in our control like the design of junctions on new housing estates.
“There is a little bit of analysis on that but not much, nothing that says we have really looked at why we weren’t able to deliver and how we need to change if we are to deliver on policies in the future."
Councillor Charlie Hicks (Lab, Cowley) described "a brilliant and well-detailed plan" but reflected on this being one of the "least well-evidenced sectors of policy", and not just in Oxfordshire.
"I think it needs a What Works Centre," he said.
“We don’t have the data on the ground, in my view that leads to the status quo and the things that really do matter don’t get shifted.
“That takes nothing away from what is being done. If this was reality it would be fantastic but the question is then how you implement this… At the moment this exists in a parallel universe which is not the one we live in.”
The committee resolved to ask Councillor Duncan Enright (Lab, Witney North & East), Oxfordshire’s cabinet member for transport & development strategy, to report on the implementation and outcomes of the last transport plan – one he did not oversee – the lessons learned and the policy links with the current plan. He is scheduled to report back in November.