Agenda item

Public participation

Asking a question and addressing the Partnership
Questions or requests to make an address (in full and in writing) must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 14 March 2023,three clear working days before the Future Oxfordshire Partnership meeting.

Questions and addresses should be no longer than one side of A4 paper in Arial 12 font. The address or question will be circulated to the Partnership and public speakers will be invited to speak at the meeting. Written submissions may also be read out by the Chair or Democratic Services Officer where requested or if the person making the request for public speaking is not able to attend the meeting. A response may be given at the meeting or a written answer supplied. The Chair will have discretion to manage the public participation procedure as they see appropriate. Questions and notice of addresses must be submitted to


Note: This meeting may be recorded for live broadcast. At the start of the meeting the Chair will confirm the meeting is being filmed. By registering to speak you are consenting to being recorded and to the use of those video and audio recordings for webcasting.



The full text and final written responses to the questions below can be found here.


Councillor Dr Sue Roberts referred to the refusal by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA) to grant Water Bathing Status at Wallingford Beach without an explanation and expressed concern that in her view, there would be no protections in place for the people swimming there. The River Thames was the lifeblood of Wallingford as a historic market town and in addition to bathers, was used by Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University rowing squads. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership was asked to write to the Secretaries of State for DEFRA and the Department for Culture Media and Sport, to deplore what was considered to be a retrograde decision to keep Wallingford mired in excrement.


In response the Chair indicated that a written response would be provided but invited Councillor David Rouane as Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council to comment. Councillor Rouane added that the council was itself seeking more information on the reasons for refusal of the Bathing Water Status application and without this information it was not possible to comment further.


Professor Richard Harding on behalf of CPRE Oxfordshire asked a question which referred to the Pathways to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire Joint Action Plan and Route Map. In particular, the proposal for a Local Area Energy Plan for Oxfordshire and a commitment to strategic planning of energy generation was welcomed. It was highlighted that although the Action Plan set out ambitious targets for solar renewables these would require only a small proportion of Oxfordshire’s land.


In the CPRE’s view priority should be given to the use of rooftops and brownfield sites for solar and local authorities should be selective about any greenfield allocations particularly avoiding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, wildlife sites and nature recovery areas, and good agricultural land. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership was asked:


1.     Which ‘stakeholders’ would be involved in the formulation of the Local Area Energy Plan?


2.     Would the Plan be subject to full public consultation?


3.     How would the Plan take into account other potentially competing uses for land, such as biodiversity and food production, possibly moving towards a broader comprehensive land use plan for Oxfordshire?


4.     And when will local authorities be in a position to turn down any building applications (domestic or commercial) that do not make adequate provision for renewable energy, especially solar? 


The Chair indicated that a written answer would be provided and that members of the Partnership would be aware of the points made when they considered the Agenda item.


Suzanne McIvor on behalf of Need Not Greed Oxfordshire asked a question which referred to the process for the drafting of the Strategic Economic Plan, (SEP) and the phasing of the Plan through scoping, evidence gathering analysis, and production of an action plan all by the end of June 2023.She expressed concern that although headlines around the SEP talked about a ‘new, constructive and creative county-wide conversation about Oxfordshire’s economic future’ there was no evidence of how the public and groups such as Need Not Greed could be involved in this conversation and that there was nowhere in the Plan’s programme to allow for everyone to have the opportunity to have their say. It was also unclear as to whether the SEP would be agreed by each council or simply announced as agreed by HM Government.  The Future Oxfordshire was asked to:


1.     Carry out a full public consultation on the SEP, and


2.     Ensure that the SEP goes through an appropriate scrutiny and approval process by each Local Authority?


The Chair indicated that a written answer would be provided and that members of the Partnership would be aware of the points made when they considered the Agenda item.


George Curtis on behalf of Bioabundance asked two questions related to the

Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan 2023 and Pathways to Zero Carbon Route Map and Action Plan Final Report Agenda items. In quoting directly from the Pathways to a Zero Carbon report he commented that “the size of the challenge to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 at latest will require a considerable step change in activity. We need to embed climate change into decision making across Oxfordshire’s local authorities.”


Concern was expressed that the proposed iteration of the Net Zero Action Plan and Route Map did not include Scope Three emissions. He commented that from other points made in the Scrutiny Panel meeting, the net zero imperative was to be considered in many of the FOP sponsored workstreams and the net zero imperative applied to all FOP activities. It was Bioabundance’s contention that the Scope 3 emission information from the housing and road developments are crucial elements in the Future Oxfordshire Partnership’s decision-making to embrace the net zero strategy. It was considered that the Zero Carbon Route Map and Action Plan could not be considered fit for purpose until it was extended to include Scope Three emissions.


It was suggested that the Partnership agree to the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendation that it ask Kate Raworth to present the Doughnut Economics model to manage sustainable growth within ecological targets whilst ensuring wellbeing and that as in other parts of the country, for instance the WFG (Wales) Act, the well-being of future generations is acquiring greater significance than in the now outdated quest for GDP growth at any cost.  Mr Curtis expressed the view that the number of houses in the Oxford City Housing & Economic Needs Assessment, produced by Cambridge Economics had been based on a 1930s economic concept of GDP driven growth without regard to the environment. He stressed that Net Zero called for a step change in thinking.


The Future Oxfordshire Partnership was asked:


1.     Could the Net Zero Plan be reworked to include the Scope 3 emissions before it can be accepted?


2.     Could the Economic Strategy include the use of Doughnut Economics to measure and present plans for enabling wellbeing whilst minimising environmental harm?


The Chair indicated that a written answer would be provided and that members of the Partnership would be aware of the points made when they considered the Agenda item.

Supporting documents: