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The M40 commences its journey north through the Oxfordshire countryside after passing over the Chiltern Hills. Note how narrow the motorway is compared to the fields.

On the edge of the Chiltern Hills the M40 passes through a deep gorge. On both sides of the gorge a nature reserve has been established.
Photographs ©Pro-Motor Ltd 2002
2005 Dec
Ambulance Driver hit by Speed Camera Fanaticism
Another ambulance driver doing his job has been the victim of police speed camera fanaticism. Lee Schramm recieved a fixed penalty notice for doing just 36mph in a 30mph zone whilst rushing two organs for transplant. He was driving a marked car with blue flashing lights, yet Thames Valley Police have apparently refused to scrap his fine and points. The Sun has described the police as "Speed Prats".
In October 2003 charges against West Yorkshire ambulance driver Mike Ferguson were thrown out by a court. Ferguson had been prosecuted by Lincolnshire Police for exceeding a speed limit on the A1 whilst delivering an organ for transplant.

2005 May
50 Limit proposed for Oxford eastern bypass
Oxfordshire City Council are proposing yet another of their pet 50mph speed limits — this time on the Oxford eastern bypass.
The speed limit reduction is a reaction to a tragic accident in which 3 children died after the car they were in crossed the central reservation, killing a driver heading in the opposite direction. There were 7 teenage children plus driver in the five seater car.
The general accident history of this road does not justify the reduction in speed limit. The cause of the accident has not even been released by the police, and there has been no suggestion that the vehicle was travelling at excessive speed. The 50mph limit is only being imposed by the council so that they are seen to be doing something, or more likely because the tragic accident gives them the excuse to impose another 50 limit.
The Eastern Bypass can safely be driven at NSL, and no other sections of bypass have speed limit reductions planned even though the layout is potentially more dangerous.
Council Try Unwanted 50 Limits Again
Despite a large number of objections to their previous silly proposals for an excessive number of unnecessary 50 limits on rural main roads, Oxford County Council have demonstrated their contempt for public opinion by trying again. There are a number of speed limit reduction splanned for March 2005. These are:
A361 - Williamscot Hill to county border
A4421 - Bicester to Finmere
A44 - Chipping Norton to county border
B4044 - Eynsham to Botley
A415 - Kingston Bagpuize to Ducklington
Other reductions have been put on hold:
  A415 - Rowstock to Chilton (40mph)
  A4130 - Near Gangsdown Hill (50mph)
All are currently NSLA. Many of the proposed 50mph limits were proposed at the end of 2003, but due to the number of objections received the council held off implementing them to examine further the rational behind them. The council did agree to limit the number implemented in one go, as previously they were planning 14. However, whether they are planning to implement 1 or a 100, if the limit isn't justified it'll have no effect — as will happen with these.
  • BBC — New limits 'will not cut deaths'
    Banned by Thames Valley Police

    We've received a report from a driver who says he was stopped by police and this speed camera sign was 'confiscated'. One of the policemen said he'd been told to take them off people. So much for freedom of speech.
    Print one and stick it in your car. If your are stopped and the sticker illegally 'confiscated', be sure to get the officers name, number and a receipt for your property. Then let us know.
    More Speed Camera Signs
    Chicanes to hit Little Milton
    Oxfordshire County Council have approved a plan to install traffic calming in the form of chicanes on the A329 in the village of Little Milton.
    Measures consists of extending the 30mph limit by approximately 50m on the Western and North-Eastern approaches, and constructing build-outs in the vicinity of the 30mph boundaries. Both build-outs will restrict the road width to 3m, with a gently sloping 1.5m overrun area giving an effective width of 4.5m, with priority given to traffic exiting the village.
    Some local residents have in the past blockaded the road claiming it is a 'rat run'. How anyone in their right mind can describe an 'A' road as a 'rat run' is beyond us. What do they think A roads are for?
    Wytham Traffic Calming Consultation Excludes Drivers
    A consultation has been carried out by Oxfordshire County Council into traffic calming in the village of Wytham just off the A34. Only residents of the village were consulted. Drivers who use the road were not given the opportunity to express an opinion. To complain about this biased and undemocratic policy write to: David McKibbin, Head of Transport, County Hall, Oxford, OX1 1ND
  • OCC — Wytham Proposed 20mph Zone And Traffic Calming
    Council Plans Will Inflict Urban Blight on Villages
    Oxfordshire County Council’s plans for extensive village traffic calming will turn some of the area’s most attractive villages into ugly, urbanized wastelands, say local residents and the ABD.
    Proposals for widespread traffic "calming" are currently at a "consultation" stage, for the villages of Chesterton and Kirtlington — and similar schemes are in development across the county. Local residents fear that not only will the area become sub-urban and ugly, but that consultation has not been wide enough.
    David Palmer, a Bicester resident, “The consultation stage is a complete sham, since it targets only a tiny minority of "immediate" residents and ignores the big picture of rural housing and jobs. It is clear that residents of other villages or towns are definitely not invited to take part.”
    Mark McArthur-Christie of the ABD commented “As well as spoiling the appearance of beautiful villages these proposals will do little for safety. In addition, if implemented, they will seriously disrupt cross-country transport for the majority of this rural area.”
    Whilst village traffic levels have increased, this is an inevitable consequence of Oxfordshire County Council's housing policy — building thousands of commuter homes on the edges of Bicester and Witney — and lack of funding to upgrade the local transport infrastructure.
    McArthur-Christie comments "The same Council that has generated extra levels of local traffic is now seeking to funnel this traffic onto a yet-smaller number of already-congested routes."
    Because only a minority of Oxfordshire residents can afford to live in pretty villages, the majority are forced to live in large housing estates in satellite towns. It is this silent — and excluded — majority who will soon find that their daily journeys on local roads are seriously disrupted by road blocks, speed humps, chicanes and other measures. At the same time, residents will find a government-sponsored campaign of urbanisation with ugly suburban street furniture, including an excess of high-profile signage, littering what were once pretty country villages.
    Both local residents and the ABD urges Oxfordshire CC to reconsider these schemes, in favour of less intrusive and ugly methods of reducing traffic speed, such as Self-Explaining Roads and vehicle activated signs.
    Elsewhere on the ABD website:

    Photographic Atlas of Oxford
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