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Environment at centre of Oxfordshire Growth Board work
23 March, 2021

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has re-affirmed its commitment to the environment with a series of new measures.

At the meeting on March 22, the Board endorsed a Strategic Vision for Oxfordshire – which places environmental wellbeing among its core ambitions, approved establishing an Environment Advisory Group (EAG), and endorsed a set of Oxford-Cambridge Arc-wide Environment Principles.

The Strategic Vision sets out what future growth in Oxfordshire should look like based on improving social, environmental and economic wellbeing for all.

It prioritises tackling climate change and reflects local people’s opinions and priorities as given through a range of engagement exercises.

The Vision provides a number of shared ambitions that reflect the priorities of the county, underpinned by a definition of ‘good growth’ and a set of Guiding Principles.

Among the ambitions are making Oxfordshire not just carbon neutral by 2040 but moving towards carbon negative, being the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than that in which we found it, and improving the overall wellbeing of the population.

Under the Vision, Oxfordshire’s globally competitive economy will be sustainable, diverse and inclusive – creating a more equal county; there will be flourishing, diverse and vibrant communities; and there will be greater connectivity – both digitally and between places with a focus on sustainable and active travel.

It is hoped that the Vision will become the cornerstone of all future plans and strategies for Oxfordshire.

The Vision will not replace or set the specific vision for any individual communities or partner organisations but instead will act as a framework for all future plans and strategies.

You can read the full Strategic Vision here.

It comes as the Board demonstrated its ambition to tackle climate change by establishing an Environment Advisory Group.

The EAG will provide environmental oversight of the Growth Board’s projects and programmes, and be made up of senior councillors from across Oxfordshire, reporting into the Board at regular intervals.  It will also have the ability to co-opt additional members who can bring their expertise from the wider community.

Among the issues it may consider are zero-carbon planning, air and water quality, biodiversity, green infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, waste management and energy production.

The Board also endorsed a set of environmental principles for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc region.

The principles were produced by the Arc Leadership Group – in response to the Government’s announcement it is developing, with local partners, a Spatial Framework for the Arc.

They include targeting net zero carbon by 2040, being an exemplar for environmentally sustainable development, and protecting, restoring, enhancing and creating new nature areas.

The Arc Leadership Group includes elected and senior representatives from many of the Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Business Board, the Arc Universities Group and transport bodies across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc region.

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