A drive to install electric vehicle charging points in Council-owned car parks has moved up a gear.
Six car parks across the District have been selected as part of the first phase of the Oxfordshire Park and Charge project delivered by a consortium of partners including West Oxfordshire District Council.
They will provide a total of 35 charging points capable of charging 70 vehicles. Installation work is expected to start in the spring with the project set for completion by the summer.
Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Climate Change at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Since declaring the Climate Emergency last year, we have been working incredibly fast to make positive changes to our environment and this is a major step forward.
“We know electric vehicle usage will accelerate quickly in the coming years and these charging points will help meet the needs of drivers in our town centres as they work, shop and visit, helping cut carbon emissions and improve air quality accordingly.
“It will also help residents who are unable to charge their vehicles outside their homes., providing them with off-street charging overnight.”
The move was approved by the Council’s Cabinet on 18 November.
The car parks set to install charging points are Woodford Way, Witney; Back Lane, Eynsham; Black Bourton Road, Carterton; Hensington Road, Woodstock and New Street, Chipping Norton.
The Council will also create five charging points at its offices in Woodgreen, Witney.
The £5.2m Oxfordshire Park and Charge project will be providing up to 280 fast charging points across the County in 2021, helping to facilitate greener modes of travel making it easier for local residents, visitors and commuters to own an electric vehicle.
Around £3.4m is provided by a grant from Innovate UK, with the remainder coming from investment from commercial partners, meaning the charging hubs come at no cost to the councils involved.
Electric vehicle ownership is growing faster in Oxfordshire than anywhere else in the UK, with the University of Oxford predicting approximately 25,000 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) on Oxfordshire’s roads by 2025 compared to the 1,892 BEV recorded on the roads today. Of the total number of BEV recorded in Oxfordshire in 2019, 12 per cent are recorded as owned in West Oxfordshire.
For more information and a list of Q&As, see: https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/EVchargingPoints or the project’s dedicated website: www.parkandchargeoxfordshire.co.uk
The Site Manager at the Matthews Homes site in Aston has reported that during the night of the 20th November there was a break in from the Bull Street end of the site. The thieves attempted to hot wire a digger unsuccessfully. They broke a side window in the digger to gain access but did not notice that it had a wheel missing on it.
Anyone who believes they heard or saw something that may be relevant to this break in should contact Thames Valley Police via this link Contact us | Thames Valley Police.
Guidance on how to secure your home or other buildings is available at home-security-guide2.pdf (thamesvalley.police.uk).
The final consultation for the proposed Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) pilot has now opened and runs until midnight on Sunday 17 January 2021.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are now asking for views from residents, businesses and visitors on a revised ZEZ pilot proposal after a similar consultation was paused in March 2020 because of the pandemic.
The proposed ZEZ pilot aims to reduce the city’s air pollution levels, tackle the climate emergency and improve the health of residents, workers and visitors to Oxford and beyond.
The need to cut emissions is clear. In January 2020, a study from Centre for Cities found out that at least one in 17 deaths in Oxford is related to air pollution. Oxford City Council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan sets a local target of 30 by 25 – ie 30 µg/m3 across Oxford by 2025. In April 2014, a report issued by Public Health England showed that long term exposure to air pollution in Oxford could be responsible for six per cent of all deaths of people aged 25 and over.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, added: "Tackling air pollution and climate change is a great priority for us. Not only will our plans for a city centre Zero Emission Zone make a difference to the quality of life and health of people living and working in the city centre, but we are also showing that it is possible as we start to respond seriously with climate action.
We can look forward to a city that will be a healthier and cleaner place for all, especially now that the county has moved forward on its commitment to accelerate initiatives such as these plans. The changes we propose are based on the feedback we have received and we encourage residents, businesses and visitors to submit feedback on the final plans in the consultation ahead."
Councillor Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said: "COVID-19 has forced local government to divert significant focus onto supporting our communities through the toughest time they’ll know. All the while, the city council has kept up our focus on climate breakdown and air pollution, including speeding up Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone.
"I’m thrilled that the implementation of the city centre ZEZ is moving forwards and the scheme’s emissions standards will be the toughest possible. The city has joined together in recent years to develop this ZEZ scheme and we hope for the largest number of responses to our final consultation."
The ZEZ pilot would be based on a road user charging scheme, which means vehicles used in the zone 7am - 7pm would be subject to charges, depending on their emissions. Only 100 per cent zero emission vehicles could be used in the zone free of charge.
Other vehicles would be subject to the daily charges with the amount depending on the emissions of the vehicle. Discounts are also proposed for certain vehicles or road users during the charging hours (7am – 7pm) including resident and business vehicles within the zone, and for Blue Badge holders.
Under the requirement of the scheme, income raised by the ZEZ may be used to cover implementation and running costs.
The remaining income will be used to help residents and businesses make the transition to zero emission vehicles, and on other schemes that promote zero and low emission transport in the city.
The consultation follows the government’s announcement this week announcing that the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. Britain is moving closer towards adopting electric vehicles on a wider scale. The ZEZ will go beyond this ambition, with the ZEZ pilot to be introduced in Summer 2021, and on a wider scale in spring 2022.
The councils are now proposing to create a single city centre ZEZ with a single set of requirements, in two steps. Firstly, an area in the heart of the city centre will act as the ZEZ pilot, which will then, secondly, provide learnings for a wider ZEZ to cover the whole city centre in spring 2022, on an accelerated timeline.
The larger ZEZ will be subject to further consultation but its alignment with the pilot zone would allow for clearer emissions criteria and greater support for residents and businesses within the ZEZ area.
The councils have made several changes to the ZEZ proposals after reflecting on the feedback from the January 2020 ZEZ consultation, the experience of COVID-19, the spring lockdown and the feedback from the temporary bus gates survey in the summer. These include:
Anyone can take part in the consultation by visiting Oxfordshire County Council’s website
Further details on the pilot proposals can be found here.
Frequently asked questions on the pilot proposals can be found here.
TRAFFIC REGULATION NOTICE
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT, 1984
Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 14(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1984, that the Oxfordshire County Council
TEMPORARILY PROHIBITS THE USE OF THE HIGHWAY
BY ALL MOTOR VEHICLES
LOCATION:Bampton, (Aston) Bampton Road, OX18 2BU (outside Westfield House)
REASON: New water connection
DURATION:Starting on 23 November 2020
The anticipated completion date is 27 November 2020
(Any time 24 hours full closure)
(Traffic Regulation Notices cover a maximum of 5 consecutive days)
ACCESS:Limited access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for frontages within the closed section of road, subject to the progress of the works
SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE ROUTE: The alternative routes for traffic are
via a combination of Bampton Road (B4449) – Aston Road – Station
Road (A4095) – A4095 towards Curbridge & Witney – Curbridge Road –
Duckington Lane (A415) – Standlake Road – Witney Road – B4449 – Cote
Road - and vice-versa.
Jason Russell, Director for Infrastructure Delivery
Date: 01 September 2020
A specialist Council team will this week start contacting more than 4,000 ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (CEV) residents across the District.
The aim is to ensure their needs are being met during lockdown. This could include a priority online supermarket delivery, befriending support or help in accessing mental health or welfare services.
People are classed as CEV if they are at very high risk of severe illness from Covid-19 due primarily due to underlying health conditions which force them to take extra precautions.
Vulnerable people are encouraged to stay at home except for exercise and only work if they can do so safely from home.
The Council team is contacting 4132 vulnerable residents. They will begin by sending emails and text messages, asking them to confirm if they are happy or require support.
For those without email or mobiles, there will be ‘phone calls until contact is established. Clearly identifiable officers will knock on people’s doors to check on them if they do not respond to other forms of contact.
Any residents needing help will then be given the appropriate support.
Cllr Suzi Coul, Cabinet Member for Community and Public Health, said: “We are committed to being here for our residents throughout the pandemic and we will contact everyone on the list supplied to us by the Government.
“We know many will be struggling in this second lockdown, both in terms of feeling isolated and the stress of having to access services and vital supplies, but we can help whenever needed.”
Councillor Coul added: “Of course, people should continue to be extremely vigilant about fraudsters contacting them, asking for money, or posing as a council or NHS workers so we want to get the word out that we are doing this and that our staff will clearly identify themselves.
“Anyone receiving an email or text should respond if possible so we know we do not need to continue to try to contact them.”
Residents across the District have had their electric blankets tested despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Normally, blankets are tested at the Council offices but this could not take place this year with them being closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, after we joined forces with Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards, the Oxfordshire Fire Service, Age UK and the four other district councils in the county, the safety tests were carried out remotely.
In West Oxfordshire, a total of 116 blankets were collected from residents’ homes in specially sealed bags and taken to the test centre. Those that passed the test were returned on the same day.
Residents with blankets that failed were contacted by telephone to discuss further action including a free replacement. Over two weeks, 756 blankets across Oxfordshire were tested with 159 failing.
Oxfordshire is believed to be the only county in the country providing this service this year.
Cllr Merilyn Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This was a fantastic effort by our officers working as a team with colleagues and volunteers across the County.
“They ensured this vital service was able to continue and people can sleep soundly knowing their blanket is safe this winter.”
Anyone who missed the testing but needs further information should see: https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/product-safety/electric-blankets/
Council planners want to hear views on a document designed to help inform developers how much they will be required to pay towards infrastructure for new developments in the District.
The draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) sets out details of the expected contributions which largely involve the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 / Section 278 planning obligations.
CIL is a charge which can be levied by local authorities on new development in their area to help fund broader supporting infrastructure.
Section 106 agreements can be used to secure specific infrastructure such as community facilities to mitigate the direct impacts of development. They can also be used to secure affordable housing.
Section 278 payments refer to alterations and improvements to roads which may be necessary as a result of a new development.
Planning conditions can also be used to help secure certain development requirements.
The draft SPD is aimed at a number of different audiences including landowners and developers, statutory providers, Town and Parish Councils and the local community.
Cllr Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “Developer contributions are a vital part of how we plan housing schemes in West Oxfordshire, ensuring residents have good facilities and infrastructure to support their communities.
“This draft document sets out clearly and transparently what is expected of developers and I would urge as many interested parties as possible to complete the consultation and help us shape future developments in a sensible and sustainable way.”
The consultation is running for six weeks until 5pm on Monday 21 December.
The draft SPD can be viewed in full here: https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-policy/supplementary-planning-documents/
Help will be available to those who need it this winter as the Oxfordshire community comes together to do its bit to control the virus and save lives.
That’s the message from local leaders who are urging residents and businesses to carefully follow the new lockdown guidelines from the government this week.
It’s clear that the second lockdown will be tough on residents and businesses across the county, which is why it’s so important to make sure it is effective. Oxfordshire’s council leaders, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership have come together to say that everyone must play their part to help control the spread of the virus once again to save lives.
That means staying at home and not gathering with people you do not live with. The full guidance is on the government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november.
Even under normal circumstances, winter puts a significant strain on the resources of Oxfordshire’s NHS and other health services, and the escalating cases of COVID-19 across the whole country are already adding an even bigger burden, putting more lives at risk. Staying home and following the guidelines is the only way to help save lives.
This brings additional challenges, and over the course of the first lockdown, communities across the county came together in an incredible show of support to make sure everyone in their neighbourhoods got the help and support they needed.
The six Oxfordshire authorities will once again be working together and closely with their local communities to ensure anybody in need of help getting their basic supplies is connected with people who are able to help them.
Information on the support available for residents can be found on the councils’ websites:
“It promises to be a difficult time but it is important we stick by the Government guidelines and try to stay as safe as possible. We will get through it hopefully in time to enjoy a proper family Christmas.”
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “It is well documented that we have been concerned about the rise in the number of cases in Oxfordshire. I welcome any move that will help to stem the spread of the virus and protect our communities. I urge people to stick to the rules and hopefully in time we will see a positive impact on the number of cases both locally and nationally.”
The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, said: “The announcement of a further national lockdown by the Prime Minister will come as a huge blow to us all. We all have an unenviable task of managing the economic, social and health consequences for us all against the apparently exponential spread of the virus. Many people will be uncomfortable with these further restrictions, that come after so many extraordinary months that have changed our lives. Thames Valley Police will continue to enforce these unprecedented restrictions in the same common-sense fashion that they have demonstrated in recent months. The approach will be to engage with the public, explain the new rules, encourage people to protect each other by following these new laws and to enforce only as a last resort. This is not the “new normal”, but exceptional measures that must be taken to allow us to return to normality.”
Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP, said: “Following the Government’s decision to return the whole of England into lockdown – as has been the case in recent weeks and months – we will continue to work with Oxfordshire’s health officials, our local authority counterparts, the county’s MPs and our business community to ensure the additional support that our businesses will undoubtedly require during this period is in place and made readily available.
“We ask that businesses follow the new guidelines and adhere to any actions required, including those industries permitted to remain active during this lockdown period.
“We also encourage businesses to be as proactive as possible and seek any support that is needed, whether via existing government schemes or indeed the support and advice we are able to offer as the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership. We would also ask that businesses seek to understand – and be aware of – any future support announced by Government.
“Coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation and will cause concern and disruption to businesses of all sizes for the foreseeable future. We will continue to work hard to ensure that our business community can be supported – and remain resilient – during this challenging period.”
News and information from Aston, Cote, Chimney & Shifford Parish Council.