A PLAN laying out a 'decade of action' on climate change has been agreed by Oxfordshire's local political leaders.

The Climate Action Framework lays out how tOxfordshire County Council will become carbon neutral by 2030, and how it aims to make the whole county meet the same target by 2050.

But the plan was signed off during the same meeting the county shelved plans for experimental bus-only lanes in central Oxford, aimed at curbing traffic jams, and fossil fuel emissions in the city.

Launching the plan, the council's leader Ian Hudspeth said the changes brought on by Covid should be used as an opportunity to tackle climate change.

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He said: "The ‘decade of action’ required on climate change has begun with the Covid 19 pandemic. It has changed our world almost overnight. The pandemic has hurt us, and it has changed us.We must not allow it to hold us back: it is our responsibility to use this time of change to achieve our goals."

The Climate Action Framework is being used to put carbon-cutting measures at the top of the council's work agenda.

This includes practical steps like retrofitting all streetlights in Oxfordshire with more energy efficient LED lights, and exchanging its current crop of vehicles to an all-electric fleet.

Banbury Cake:

LED streetlights in Aylesbury

But there are large policy ideas like prioritising better broadband, or 'digital infrastructure', over building new roads.

It also means promoting bus use and cycling.

By doing all of this, the council hopes it can become carbon neutral by 2030; and it will also 'enable' Oxfordshire's residents and businesses to do the same by 2050.

During the same meeting the county council's cabinet approved the Climate Action Framework, it also shelved plans for two bus-only lanes which were due to be rolled out as part of a plan to maintain low levels of traffic on Oxford's roads after the pandemic.

These so-called bus gates were unpopular with businesses and some residents, but could return as part of long term plans to reduce congestion on city roads.

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The new climate plan was welcomed by the council's only Green councillor Pete Sudbury.

But he had concerns about how it did not align with the council's recent support for pushing through a new Local Plan for South Oxfordshire, which includes plans for large 'car-dependent' new housing developments like at Chalgrove Airfield.

Dr Sudbury said: "It's A-minus for the words and a D-minus for the action from me."