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Press release from One St Mary's

Updated: May 7, 2022

The campaign for a socially just and truly green policy of reducing pollution in our streets without carving up our communities will continue.

John Skinner from a standing starting and with a small team behind him came a highly creditable third in the Oxford City Council election on May 5 with well over 400 votes. The seat was won by the Greens with Labour in second. The full result was Emily Kerr (Green) 893 votes, Mustafa Barcho (Lab) 574 John Skinner (Independent) 435 and Josie Procter (Lib Dems) 70.

John gained 22% of the 1,972 votes cast in a result which saw none of the candidates achieve an overall majority, and neither Greens nor Labour willing to address the LTN issue in their campaigns. It is clear that the community remains divided over roads policy. The St Mary’s result reflected a strong showing by Independents across the city, and the re-election of Independent Saj Malik in Temple Cowley ward.

After the poll John Skinner thanked all those who had voted for him and those who had worked to challenge two big party machines. He issued the following statement:

"We are proud of our campaign – as the only people to have addressed the issue of LTNs openly in this election. Although roads are a county matter, the city council has had a huge influence on the introduction of road barriers and the policy has been smuggled in with minimal public debate and in defiance of public feedback.

The introduction of the LTNs in East Oxford was purposely delayed until just after the election so that people would vote blind without experiencing the chaos that will follow. The Greens avoided all mention of LTNs in their election materials while Labour implied that they are in favour of a rethink.

This is supposed to be a trial – but it has no baseline and no stated aims and therefore no way to judge success or failure except for shouting on social media and selective interviews. We will see the reality in misery for many and increased pollution.

The people who lose most are those with the least influence in the city.

- They live on the major roads where the traffic will increase pollution and so increase danger to their health and wellbeing.

- They ride on the buses that will be delayed by traffic jams.

- They drive from outside the city to work in our NHS and schools and to keep the city running.

- They are small businesses who provide services to our homes and communities.

- They have no vote because they cannot afford to live here.

Meanwhile some who have cars in East Oxford and drive where other people live see no problem in voting to keep ‘outsiders’ from ‘their’ roads.

LTNs do not discriminate between those who need to drive and those who don’t. They exclude people based only on where they live. They discriminate against elderly and disabled people and carers.

The bus gates the county is now planning will complete the process of dividing our city into separate isolated enclaves. We believe the Quickways being introduced on our major roads will increase danger for cyclists and encourage speeding. The county and city will waste millions on these schemes and the schemes will fail. At that point, the city will blame the county; the county will blame the city and the parties now in coalition will blame each other.

Reducing pollution and unnecessary car use means engaging with those who drive cars – not treating them as enemies or rats. Our campaign for a socially just and truly green policy of reducing pollution will continue."

John Skinner with (left) David Henwood independent candidate who came second in the Cowley Ward
John Skinner with (left) David Henwood independent candidate who came second in the Cowley Ward

(Pictures: Peter McIntyre)


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Notes from Your Doorstep 20/2/2022
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