Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Information to support why the S2 route should not be selected

Dear Friends

Following the recent meeting in Horton-cum-Studley Village Hall, we have put together some information to help you to write to your local Councillors and MPs about the proposed S2 route for the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, near Oxford.  Please do write to as many as you can. Their names and address are at the end of the letter.  If you know any other influential people, please do try to involve them as well.

We have concentrated on the implications of the S2 route for wildlife. The information we provide is not exclusive and we encourage you to investigate further.

Please try to do this before April 12th, which we believe is the deadline for the decision on the preferred route.

Best wishes,

Fran Ashcroft and David Rogers

frances.ashcroft@dpag.ox.ac.uk

david.rogers@zoo.ox.ac.uk


Information to support why the S2 route should not be selected.

Wildlife – reserves and SSSI

Several fragile and important nature reserves,

  • Otmoor – RSPB bird reserve
  • BBOWT Asham Mead
  • BBOWT Whitecross Wood
  • BBOWT Bernwood Meadows

More information on them:-

Otmoor RSPB Reserve

It is a haven for wildlife. Among the rare birds that nest/visit are:

  • Turtle Dove (Red List species of conservation concern in the UK; and Biodiversity Action Plan species). These are in decline and numbers are halving every six years
  • Bittern. Numbers dramatically declined and almost extinct in UK, but numbers slowly increasing but at very low levels. Present at Otmoor.
  • Rare birds of prey - Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier
  • There are many other rate and unusual birds that breed or visit here. Information about birds and animals seen (including harriers and bitterns) can be found here: http://otmoorbirding.blogspot.co.uk

Asham Meads BBOWT Reserve

Ancient fields that harbour rare communities of national and local botanical gems, including maroon-flowered great burnet, meadow fox-tail grass and tubular water-dropwort and very uncommon green winged orchids. Rare black and brown hairstreak butterflies.

Whitecross Green Wood BBOWT Reserve

Fragile ancient woodland. Known for nightingales

Bernwood Meadows BBOWT Reserve

Ancient fields with rare green-winged orchids, rare black and brown hairstreak butterflies

Otmoor, in general

More generally, Otmoor is host to many uncommon species e.g. Brown hares, cuckoos, skylarks etc.  Importantly the area is also full of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)  (which can be seen on this map)

http://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx?startTopic=Designations&activelayer=sssiIndex&query=HYPERLINK%3D%271000916%27

SSSIs are the highest category of land that is considered to be special for wildlife.

Crucially, most of Otmoor is an SSSI. Additional nearby SSSI sites include:

  • Arnott Bridge meadows 
  • Murcott meadows
  • Waterperry Wood
  • Holton Wood
  • Holly Wood
  • Stanton Great Wood
  • Wendelbury Mead and Mansmoor Closes

It is doubtful that it would be possible to build a road that avoids all of these sites. Even if the Expressway were to be directed around the actual nature reserves and SSSIs, the noise would be very damaging to such fragile communities.  For example, it would disturb nesting birds. It would also much reduce people’s enjoyment of the peaceful and tranquil region that is currently Otmoor.

The corridor for noise pollution can be seen by the size of that for the M40 here http://www.extrium.co.uk/noiseviewer.html

It extends to approximately 1 mile from the road at a level of 55 decibels (equivalent to fridge or air conditioner hum).

Buildings

The road would also have a negative impact on important architectural assets such as Beckley Park, a Grade 1 listed building of national historic interest. The moats are also listed and it has a famous topiary garden.

Woodperry House is also a Grade 1 listed building.

Other

Fog would also be a problem, given the low-lying nature of the land.  Likely to be worse than on the foggy bits of the M40.

People to write to

Parish Councillors

We could not find a Government list. So you will need to Google

Parish council ‘name of parish’.

Here you can find details of the Horton-cum-Studley one http://horton-cum-studley.org.uk/community/parish_council

District Councillors

https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-councillors

There seem to be 3 of them for the Launton and Otmoor Ward

County Councillors

To find your County Councillor try: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/your-county-councillor. For many of us this will be: Councillor Dan Sames, 27 Shearwater Drive, Bicester, Oxon, OX26 6YR, Phone:  (01869) 249768, Mobile:  07771 857088, Email:  dan.sames@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Also worth thinking about is the Oxfordshire County Cabinet of Councillors: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/cabinet

Your Member of Parliament

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/For most of us this will be: The Rt Hon John Howell MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, Tel: 020 7219 6676, Email: howelljm@parliament.uk

Secretary of State for Transport

We suggest: The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA