The petition of residents of Witney and West Oxfordshire,
Declares that current high levels of traffic congestion on the A40 between Witney and Oxford have become unsustainable and the residents of Witney and West Oxfordshire require a permanent solution; further that the Government should bring forward proposals for improvements to be made to the A40; further that West Oxfordshire residents and businesses unduly suffer due to current poor provision for roads, cycleways and public transport; further that changes should be made to the A40 to ensure the area’s ongoing commercial and residential success; and further that with plans for significant further development at the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village, alongside other projected growth in the area, the aforementioned factors will continue to worsen over time.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Robert Courts, Official Report, 20 December 2017; Vol. 633, c. 1243.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman):
The Government have an ambitious strategy for tackling congestion across the country. This includes significant new investment in both the strategic and local road networks, as well as encouragement for more sustainable transport including buses, walking and cycling.
This section of the A40 is the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council. But the Government recognise its importance to the economic growth of Oxfordshire. The Government are investing £35 million on public transport improvements on the A40, alongside £9.5 million for Didcot station, which is a key gateway to Science Vale and the Enterprise Zone. This is in addition to investing some £19.4 million, in this financial year 2017-18, to reduce congestion at key locations and improve the maintenance of local highway assets across the county as a whole.
Oxford and Oxfordshire local authorities and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership secured £55.5 million in January 2014 through their City Deal, which runs until 2021. The deal supports business expansion by delivering major improvements to transport links, including the A34 and the A40 ‘Northern Gateway’, with a new £28.8 million link road from the A40 to the A44.
In January 2017, it was announced that Oxfordshire would become home to one of the first Garden Villages in the country, at a site north of Eynsham. The new garden village will provide much-needed homes and jobs, and is likely to enhance the case for improvements to local transport links, including upgrades to the A40.
The A40 is also likely to be on the Major Road Network. This major new programme will see substantial amounts of new investment available for each road enhancement scheme on the final network, funded from the National Roads Fund, which will be established in 2020-21.
I would encourage local partners to share their views on how to define the Major Road Network and how investments on this new network should be planned and assessed by responding to the Government’s consultation, which runs until 19 March this year. I would also encourage local partners to continue to work together to explore further options to address the issues along the A40 for the County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to determine priorities for investment.