In spite of the enormous hardship of the Covid-19 lockdown, there were some unexpected benefits. Air and noise pollution were significantly reduced – in fact, levels of nitrogen dioxide in Oxford city centre fell below the legal limit for the first time in generations during the strict lockdown period. Residents of all ages were able to walk and cycle more safely around their streets. Communities also benefited as the quieter roads drew more people out onto their streets to chat to neighbours. Headington Liveable Streets would like to ensure these benefits are maintained post-lockdown, so that people can continue to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and safely travel around their neighbourhoods.
The Covid-19 crisis amplifies what has been a long-standing issue in Headington – the steady rise in traffic travelling through and around the area. Our neighbourhood is both a vital employment hub and a gateway to Oxford as a whole – 40,000 vehicles travel through Headington each day . Our main roads suffer from congestion, while the surrounding side roads face speeding and short-cutting as drivers attempt to bypass queues. People in Oxford suffer illness and premature death due to high road traffic volumes: e.g. roadside air pollution in Oxford stunts lung growth in children by 14.1%; particulate air pollution accounts for 55 deaths per annum in Oxford.
This isn’t a satisfactory situation for anyone, regardless of where we live or travel. Add to this the projected 25% increase in commuting journeys to and within Oxford by 2031  and the impact of major new housing developments in our immediate vicinity and it’s clear that doing nothing about traffic isn’t an option.
We believe that most people in Headington want the same things –
- A thriving community and street life
- Buoyant cafes, restaurants and shops
- Clean air
- Access to essential services
- Safer and quieter streets
- Clear steps to address climate change
In line with these aims, Headington Liveable Streets advocates the introduction of school streets, as well as low-traffic neighbourhoods – a recognised way of reducing the overall volume of traffic in an area that is currently being implemented in Oxford and other cities around the country.
To find out more, visit us at headingtonliveablestreets.ghost.io – you’ll find regular updates from members of the community, news on developments in Headington, information on how you can get involved, FAQs and lots more!
 Based on 2018 data for London Road, The Slade and Beaumont Road in Headington Quarry
 Oxfordshire County Council, Connecting Oxford