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  • Marsh Gibbon

Expressway is Cancelled - Its Official ... a Note from NEG

Dear All NEG Supporters,

A few minutes ago we heard officially that the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway is now officially CANCELLED (link below). This is a tremendous win for our campaign, and we are writing to you all to THANK YOU for your support in getting us this far.

We started our campaign in 2018 as a small village group in Oxfordshire, on the border with Bucks. In 2019 we spread our campaign across as much of the Ox-Cam Arc as we could, finally giving a talk at the Cambridge end in early 2020. Not a single one of the 40 or so communities with whom we talked in our village meetings had heard very much about the Ox-Cam Arc proposals. When they did, they were horrified by the scale of what was proposed (an expressway plus one million extra houses) and the destruction it might cause to the ways of life of the communities already present across the Arc, and to our precious and life-sustaining natural environment.

Our campaign 'highlight' came in late February 2020 when NEG presented its petition (along with a similar one from Antony Melville on to 10 Downing St, and held a drop in event in Parliament, to which all MPs were invited. You can see a video of this event on our webpage here:

Many people contributed to the success of our campaign so far but we want to single out Olivia Field here who led the NEG team and our campaign up to and including that Westminster event, and really put NEG on the 'political map'. Olivia has many unique skills that result in most people going above and beyond what they think they are capable of, and doing things they never dreamt of. She also makes pretty good cakes.

So, thank you Olivia from all of us.

Olivia has now stepped down as Chair of NEG but continues to support us, and cheer us on.

We heard today's good news via Tim Bearder, Lib-Dem Councillor for Wheatley. Tim and the Lib-Dems, especially Layla Moran (MP, Lib-Dem, Oxford West and Abingdon), and Greg Smith (MP, Cons. Buckingham), have been unstinting in their opposition to the Expressway, and both Layla and Greg have asked questions in Parliament about finally cancelling the Expressway after it was paused in March 2020. Councillors Angela Macpherson (Cons. Buckinghamshire CC) and David Hopkins (Cons. Danesborough & Walton, Milton Keynes Council) have always been consistent supporters of our campaign. Thank you to all of them, too.

In writing to inform us of this Tim Bearder asked

"What are you going to change your name to now and how do you hold them all together to reject the houses?" Good questions both!

We already have a new campaign title, 'No Overloaded Ox-Cam Arc' (NOARC). Our campaign always added "... and the over-inflated housing target" to our statements opposing the Expressway, so the excessive housing numbers were always part of our campaign. We are now ready for the next step.

We are not against development, but we are against too much of it in the wrong place, of the wrong type, and at the wrong price for young people wanting a home. We also oppose anything that threatens to destroy our natural environment.

We hope you will continue to support us in the future

With best wishes, and thank you again,

Sarah Foxcroft David Rogers

Chair Secretary

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