Councillors in Oxfordshire have voted down a bid to have the consultation over the controversial traffic filters re-run.

The six filters, which were agreed in November, became even more controversial after a Freedom of Information request revealed a report, which showed some areas would not have had reduced levels of traffic, was published only after the consultation ended in October.

But a motion put forward by Oxfordshire County Council Conservative Independent Alliance group member Cllr Liam Walker to have the six-week consultation run again, with all the information and with a clear ‘support or oppose’ question, was rejected at the full county council meeting on March 28.

Cllr Walker said the ruling ‘coalition of chaos’ had made an embarrassing mess of transport in Oxford and the FoI findings confirmed what many had suspected.

He added: “The consultation process run by this council was an absolute sham. It was nothing more than a box-ticking exercise.”

He read out internal emails in which officers spoke of their fears that publishing the data would mean extending the consultation.

Cllr David Bartholomew, who is also part of the Conservative Independent Alliance, said a good first step towards reducing congestion would be free parking at  park and rides.

He added: “Free parking and free riding would really make a difference.”

But Labour member Cllr Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel & development strategy and part of the ruling coalition, argued that Conservative members had previously been supportive of the council’s policy.

He went on: “Congestion is a massive problem in our city, air pollution is a huge problem, shortening the lives of 70 per cent of people who die every year.  Obesity –  we’ve all heard about the problem, which is so great that our public health plan is focussed fully on that. And the climate emergency, despite what you might read, according to some of the people recommended earlier by (public) speakers to this council, is the biggest threat to humanity in our history.”

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