The Most Environmentally Damaging of the Three Options for Oxford-Cambridge Expressway Chosen?

Here

and here 

Easy read here

Option B1 or B3 – Rejecting B2 Straight through Otmoor.  The options the local wildlife trusts strongly recommended against.

Following technical analysis and stakeholder engagement, Corridor B has been identified as the best performing option. This will deliver better benefits for the region as it out-performs Corridor A and C in supporting strategic transformational growth, regeneration and redevelopment.

We have rejected Corridor B2, whilst it offers similar benefits at a similar predicted cost to B3, the environmental impacts around the Horspath and Wheatley areas are substantially more difficult to overcome. There are also a number of significant constraints as the corridor heads north toward Bicester, including Otmoor Nature Reserve.

We will be developing viable route options for Corridor B1 and B3 (see description below) for public consultation next year:

Corridor B1 – a central corridor broadly aligned with the proposed East-West Rail route from Abingdon to south Milton Keynes via Winslow. This option passes to the west of Oxford

Corridor B3 – a central corridor broadly aligned with the proposed East-West Rail route from Abingdon to south Milton Keynes via Winslow. This option passes to the south east of Oxford.

You can find out more information about our findings and assessment in our Oxford to Cambridge Overview booklet.

You can see the area for the development of route options in our map.

What’s next?

Now we have established the corridor we will provide everyone with the opportunity to get involved and help shape the final project. In the next stage we will continue to engage a wide group of stakeholders to help us identify all the information we require in order to shortlist viable routes. We will consult widely before making any decisions on the route’s location. We will then consult again, asking for your feedback on more detailed plans before we submit the planning application to build the scheme.

Timeline

DateEvent
Autumn 2017Commitment by the Chancellor for construction to commence on the missing link before the end of the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in 2025
2018Corridor announcement
Autumn 2019Public consultation on route options*
2020Preferred route announcement*
2025Construction starts*
2030New link opens to the public

*Indicative timetable, subject to preferred route options.

The BCR between the three options ranged between 1.1 and 1.2 nothing, and the locations for new strategic scale development havn’t even been chosen yet.  It is inevitable that west of Calvert the route would have to take a sharp southwards turn to avoid the most sensitive woodland and marsh areas, removing completely the time advantages of option B.  The scoring of the three options biodiversity impacts is simply not credible.

But all is not lost – the corridor chosen is so wide it almost duplicatesoption A at its southern portion.  I strongly suspect this will be the route chosen.  However the Highways Agency is spreading fear through huge great swath maps could as is already happening whip up such environmental opposition to the expressway it could sink the whole corridor project. It will be another two years before the final route is chosen.  How is anyone supposed to plan for large Garden Cities in the area without knowing which side of Oxford the route will go in the meantime?

Well you can to a degree as the commonality between B1 and B3 is clear through to Clavert and knowing the National Trust properties etc. you have to doge you can guess the route here to a few dozens of metres.  

Of course the problem is Bucks who unwisely said in 2017 that with Aylesbury chosen as a Garden Town (adding nothing to planned growth} there would be ‘no New Town’  a good example of using the Garden Communities process not to further growth but to temporally and disingenuously stop it. 

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