In respect of the Strategic Envrionemental Assessment (SEA), the following response has been received from Highways England by Horton cum Studley PC.
Dear Ms Foxcroft,
Thank you for your email dated 22 May 2018. It has been passed to Highways England from Martin Tugwell from the England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) at this stage of the corridor selection is premature. This early stage of the process does not give rise to a SEA obligation.
The decision at this time is between corridor options which are simply a decision on which corridor to pursue. This indicates that the SEA would not be considered this early in the process because at this time we are not seeking consent. We are currently appraising the environmental constraints for all corridors which is far more sensible and cost efficient at this time.
We are at a very early stage of development of this project. During the next stage, commencing in Autumn next year, Highways England will conduct a full consultation on a number of route options in order to make a recommendation to the secretary of state of a preferred route.
Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Dear Mr Grayling,
On behalf of the parishioners of Beckley and Stowood we wish to express our opposition to Route S2 in Corridor B for the proposed Oxford Cambridge 6-lane Expressway and additional 320,000 + houses, which accompany it.
This route which leaves the A34 south of Oxford, cuts through the Green Belt, somehow circumnavigates Shotover Hill with its Nature Reserve, SSI and Park with a Grade 1 listed building and cuts through more Green Belt land running very close to Sydlings Copse and College Pond, a SSSI and nature reserve and our villages of Forest Hill, Stanton St John, Elsfield and Beckley. These villages are currently protected from being subsumed by Oxford City by the Green Belt. The village of Beckley is a Conservation Area with a Grade I listed church and 24 additional listed buildings. Route S2 would then pass very close to an important medieval triple-moated hunting lodge, Beckley Park, Grade I listed with a number of other listed buildings surrounding it and rare flora on nearby land. Then the Route would cross Otmoor, a SSI and RSPB reserve with rare flora and fauna. (Please see our detailed submission on the environmental impact on Otmoor and other important, sensitive sites  ) The route is very similar to a proposed route across Otmoor for the M40, which was rejected at Public Inquiry.
Please click on the image below to visit the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust website and see their report recommending that Expressway Corridor B is discounted, and requesting an environmental impact assessment and public enquiry.
Please write to Chris Grayling at the DTA, Michael Gove at DEFRA, expressing your concerns re the Expressway
The following news stories have been published or presented:
BBC South News – Launch of EAG Campaign 13.4. -- https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09ymjkz/south-today-oxford-late-news-13042018# - at 2’20”
OXFORD CAMBRIDGE EXPRESSWAY – CORRIDOR COMPARISON
Highways England have presented three potential corridors for the Expressway between Milton Keynes and Didcot. A route to the west of Oxford and then following corridor B to Milton Keynes has significant advantages over any route to the south and east of Oxford. It involves less new road and hence will be cheaper and cause less environmental damage. It links with the A40 and A420 allowing West Oxfordshire and Swindon to enjoy direct links into the development arc. It follows the East-West Rail line and frequent interchanges would take full advantage of this.
Routes to the south and east of Oxford pass through a series of historical and environmentally sensitive areas, notably Shotover, Otmoor and Bernwood Forest close to Oxford or the River Thame to the east.
Any route which goes between Wheatley and Oxford would need to pass through or very close to the Shotover Country Park which is a Conservation Target Area, a Nature Reserve and a SSSI. To its east is the Grade 1 listed house and park of Shotover House. To its west is Brasenose Woods which is also a SSSI. There is no room for a route which avoids affecting these sensitive areas. To the south is the village of Horspath, which is densely populated and blocks any other way through. The height of Shotover Hill would mean that any road would be a major engineering undertaking and involve cuttings much wider than the road itself.
Beckley has made three submissions to the Highways Agency, covering:
- Otmoor and the environmental impact of the S2 route
- The case against Route S2 (contains the other issues)
- Supporting route S1 (which is widening the existing A34 and is the least worst option for everyone)
To open/download each submission, click on the image below or on the link to the attached document.