Oxfordshire agencies preparing for Brexit

Agencies across Oxfordshire have been working together to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October.

Short-term risks to public safety and normal daily life have been assessed by emergency planners in Oxfordshire and remain ‘low’. Nevertheless, councils are working together to ensure plans are in place to support our communities and businesses through this period of change.

The emergency services, councils, businesses and voluntary organisations that make up the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum (LRF) have been working since last summer to prepare for the impact of a no-deal EU Exit.

LRFs have been advised to plan locally for a range of possible risks and threats, known as “reasonable worst-case scenarios”. Separately from Brexit preparations, the LRF regularly plans, tests and exercises its emergency plans and response to the locally identified community risks so that all agencies can respond quickly if needed.

As part of the work done on emergency planning through the LRF, there are already plans in place to cover foreseeable types of short-term disruption to public services that are delivered by local partners in Oxfordshire.

Councils have been asked to help to ensure that individuals and businesses know where to find information and advice to prepare for Brexit. Links to the government’s information are being publicised and residents are encouraged to consider the advice.

The government has also asked us to monitor potential impacts of Brexit on local businesses. We recognise concerns expressed by local employers. Oxfordshire councils stand ready to provide any practical support within their powers to local businesses. This could include identifying specific Oxfordshire impacts and relaying those to the government.

Public bodies continue to work closely together. Potential risks are being monitored and information shared, and where necessary plans updated.

OCC public transport proposals: have your say…

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have been working together on bold measures to tackle congestion on routes into and around Oxford, particularly the ‘eastern arc’ that links north, east and southern Oxford outside the city centre. The continued growth in journey numbers as new jobs are created in and around the city means that decisive action is needed.

Severe traffic congestion is also having a negative impact on existing bus services including from the rural areas. With bus journey times worsening, operators are having to put more buses on the road to maintain timetables. This, together with falling passenger numbers is threatening the viability of bus services. If not addressed, this unsustainable trend could see a severe impact on less profitable city and rural services.

Although the actual changes to the transport system are in Oxford we expect the benefits to extend much wider as they will reduce congestion and improve connectivity for journeys into and around the city. In particular, new high frequency bus and Park & Ride services, will connect people living in rural areas and county towns to key employment sites in Oxford, as well as a new fast orbital route across the eastern arc.

We have done quite a bit of work on the proposals and are now looking for input from residents, employers and people who travel into the city before developing a full business case. We have already had some positive engagement with employers in the eastern arc, though we are well aware these proposals are likely to raise some concerns.

We would very much like to hear the views of residents outside the city with an interest in improved transport connections into and around Oxford. You can find more details about the project and information on how to comment here:

I would be very grateful if you could circulate this message within your local network and consider whether to provide a response on behalf of your parish or town. Please do get in touch if you would like any further information – lts.team@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Household enquiry forms: please respond!

Residents who haven’t responded to their yellow ‘Household Enquiry’ form are being urged to do so as soon as possible.
Last month, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils sent a yellow letter to all homes across the two districts requiring people to confirm everyone over the age of 16 who currently lives in their property.
The councils need this information to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote is able to do so in any forthcoming elections. So far more than 80,000 properties have responded.
The councils are now sending out yellow reminder letters to roughly 43,000 homes they are yet to hear from.
As soon as people get their reminder letter, or if they can find the original letter, they should visit householdresponse.com/southandvale to confirm their details are correct or, if not, provide the correct information. You will need the 2-part code on the letter to do this.
Important – by law, each household must confirm their details, even if they are correct. Anyone who fails to do so could be fined up to £1,000.
Residents who do not have access to the internet can confirm their details by completing and returning the form that comes with the letter or calling the elections team at the council. If your details are correct you can confirm this by phone or text – the details required for this are included on the yellow letter.
If a household hasn’t confirmed their details by 5 October they will receive a visit from a council officer to confirm the details.
Margaret Reed, Electoral Registration Officer for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, said: “We had a great response to our first letter. However, there’s a significant number of homes we still haven’t heard from. If you are yet to respond please confirm or update your details as soon as possible – the easiest way to do this is by visiting householdresponse.com/southandvale. By law you must do this, even if all the information is correct.”

Give driving a miss for a day and be in with a chance to win a prize

Sunday 22 September is World Car Free day and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils are offering drivers in the districts the chance to win a prize – if they give their vehicle a rest on that day.
World Car Free Day has been running for 25 years. Cities, towns and villages take the opportunity to raise awareness of air pollution and air quality by encouraging people to leave their cars at home for the day and choose alternative forms of transport.
Since Clean Air Day on 20 June both South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have been urging drivers to turn off their engines if they are stopped for a minute or more as part of their joint anti-idling campaign called Turn It Off. Now the councils are suggesting that drivers turn off their engines for a day!
If drivers in the districts pledge not to use their cars on World Car Free Day on 22 September and then tell the councils how they got around instead – on the train? bus? cycling? walking? kayaking? – they will be entered for a draw for travel vouchers worth £50.
People simply click on https://survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/Worldcarfreeday/ and show (using words and photos) what they did on 22 September without their cars. Deadline for entries is 5pm Monday 30 September.
Cllr Jenny Hannaby, cabinet member for the environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Air pollution in our districts is something you cannot easily see but it is a problem that affects us all. Evidence shows a lot of our air pollution comes from our cars.”
Cllr David Rouane, cabinet member for the environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “World Car Free Day offers everyone the opportunity to think about using an alternative means of transport and how that will benefit us in many ways, reducing congestion and improving air quality, as well as giving an opportunity for some healthy exercise.”

Do you want to make a difference to your local emergency and non-emergency services?

We have vacancies for Public Governors across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.
We provide 999, NHS 111 and patient transport services in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire and patient transport services in Surrey and Sussex.
Governors have lots of important responsibilities such as appointing and holding to account the chair and other non-executive directors, contributing to the development of the Trust’s strategy, and engaging with the members who elect them.
Governors need to be confident communicators and able to speak to our members and the public about healthcare matters.
To be eligible to be a Governor you must be a member of the constituency you wish to stand for and be 16 or over.
Members have until the autumn to complete an application to become a Governor
If you’ve got what it takes to join our team, go to our website https://www.scas.nhs.uk/about-scas/council-of-governors/governors-election/ to sign up as a member and find out how to become a Governor.