The group, of which Dorchester is a member, held a “Stakeholder Engagement” meeting with Highways England’s team and their Engagement contractors Jacobs in late December. Because Highways England recognise that the Expressway Action Group represent a large number of communities across Oxfordshire and beyond and have a wide range of issues of concern re the Expressway, they have given EAG a special status alongside the ‘Environmental’ groups they are consulting. This allows us to bring evidence to them on the O2C Expressway’s impact in economic, amenity, growth and other areas as well as our important Environmental / Wildlife evidence.
They have opened an email address for us, so that we can submit evidence directly to the Highways England experts who are studying the 3 proposed Corridors for possible O2C Expressway routes: we are already submitting evidence using this new portal, including environmental data as they become available.This gives EAG and its member communities and their environment / wildlife friends direct access to the technical team at Highways: so we want to maximise this opportunity to affect O2C corridor and route choice – and we need your help.
We have been asked by Highways to gather as much information on important wildlife habitat areas, heritage sites and other risk areas and places which an Expressway would harm, either directly or by running nearby within the ’Noise Footprint” which a major dual-carriageway / motorway-standard road would generate.
Can I therefore ask all of you to speak to your, neighbours and friends within your Parish, and draw up a list of important locations in the parish which would be impacted by an O2C through / past your community: this needs to be in the form of a list giving details of each site / heritage building, plus a map showing those sites.
Please note, the evidence has to be based on objective data and should ideally be validated by one of the recognised Oxfordshire wildlife organisations: they may be willing to help you with data on your local key wildlife areas.
These include important Heritage sites – for example, here in Dorchester-on-Thames we would want to include Dorchester Abbey on the list of sites threatened by Noise pollution: we would list the Abbey and give a short description of its huge historical importance etc. There will undoubtedly be many Heritage sites and buildings which Highways team may overlook if we don’t tell them…!
We have very little time to gather this information – if we don’t get it to Highways England by the weekend of the 3rd February, we may miss the boat. Anyone able to make a submission should tryto get a map and list of sites back to us by the 3rd February: that will give us a few days to collate everything and submit it for inclusion. Please note, YOUR SUBMISSIONS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, AND COULD SAVE YOUR COMMUNITY FROM THE EXPRESSWAY’S IMPACT – so please do what you can!
Dawn McGiveron in the Baldons is kindly helping us by gathering all this data together: please send your responses back to her
marked “EAG Evidence Pack from Dorchester on Thames Parish” at firstname.lastname@example.org
as soon as it’s ready.
On the wider campaign there is an opportunity to meet the Treasury Minister on the 6th Feb in Whitehall, to make EAG’s case: we are also meeting John Howell MP and Ed Vaizey MP on the 2nd Feb to do the same (many thanks to Cllr Lynda Atkins and Cllr Lorraine Lindsey-Gale for setting up the Howell / Vaizey meeting).