“Imagine if your power-mad politicians liked Covid Lockdowns so much, they wanted to continue them indefinitely. This is going to be trialled in Oxfordshire in Britain,” a Watts Up With That article stated.
The article is about Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to trial climate lockdowns in 2024 using the “15-Minute City” concept which is intimately tied to sustainability and climate goals.
The Watts Up With That article went viral. In response, reported Vision News, Oxford City and County Councils have rushed to local media claiming that they are now the “victims” of abuse after their plans for a Communist-style dystopian city were revealed.
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Oxford’s 15-Minute Neighbourhoods
On 24 October, Oxford Mail reported that according to a county council travel chief, roadblocks stopping most motorists from driving through Oxford city centre will divide the city into six “15-Minute Neighbourhoods.” And the councillor insisted the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not.
Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy, explained the authority’s traffic filter proposals in an interview in The Sunday Times. He said the filters would turn Oxford into “a 15-Minute City” with local services within a small walking radius.
The day before, The Times reported that Oxford City will be divided into six districts, and motorists will get fined if they leave their neighbourhood too often. The Times claimed the Council was “fighting back” against gridlocked traffic with “strict rules on how often motorists can drive outside their neighbourhood.” However, only The Times is claiming it is to do with gridlocked traffic and it’s curious how The Times made out that was the aim of the Council’s move when it is clearly part of a global agenda. Vision News explained more in an article published on 30 November which began:
Oxfordshire County Council yesterday approved plans to lock residents into one of six zones to “save the planet” from global warming. The latest stage in the “15-Minute City” agenda is to place electronic gates on key roads in and out of the city, confining residents to their own neighbourhoods.
Under the new scheme, if residents want to leave their zone, they will need permission from the Council which gets to decide who is worthy of freedom and who isn’t. Under the new scheme, residents will be allowed to leave their zone a maximum of 100 days per year, but in order to even gain this every resident will have to register their car details with the council which will then track their movements via smart cameras around the city.Oxfordshire County Council Pass Climate Lockdown ‘trial’ to Begin in 2024, Vision News, 30 November 2022
Yesterday, Vision News reported that it turns out Oxford residents don’t much care for Marxist-style authoritarianism. Vision News was referring to an Oxford Mail article that day which stated that staff and councillors of Oxfordshire City Council had “been hit with a bombardment of abuse [ ] online about traffic filters.”
The Oxford Mail attempted to blame the online “abuse” on false and incorrect information about the 15-Minute Neighbourhoods being disseminated. However, Vision News has carefully fact-checked Oxford Mail’s latest report and found that the article is entirely misleading and false and clearly Oxford Mail has not done its homework.
What Oxford City Council, Oxford County Council and Oxford Mail seem to be incapable of comprehending is that people do not want, nor do they agree, to be forced into a dystopian future that globalist technocrats have devised to control residents and remove their rights and freedom of movement.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
15-Minute Neighbourhoods are not the only dystopian control scheme Oxford is trialling. Between March and June 2021, Oxfordshire County Council held a series of workshops, engagement activities and then a public consultation in June 2021 regarding low traffic neighbourhoods (“LTNs”).
An LTN is an area where motorised traffic is prevented from taking shortcuts through a residential area by means of traffic filters. This creates quieter and safer streets where residents may feel safer and more comfortable when making local journeys by bus, by cycle or on foot.
All roads remain accessible, but drivers may have to find alternative routes.East Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods, Oxfordshire County Council
Following the initial consultation, in May 2022, the Council opened a survey to the public regarding LTNs. The survey closed on 30 November. “We are trialling three low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in … east Oxford under an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO). These LTNs are collectively known as the east Oxford LTNs,” Oxfordshire County Council’s website now states.
Sustainability and Climate
C40 is a global network of mayors “taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis.” Although Oxford is not one of the nearly 100 C40 cities, it is one of the 1,143 cities and local governments that have joined C40’s ‘Cities Race to Zero’ – cities whose leaders are “working urgently toward a decarbonised economy.”
In July 2020, the C40 Knowledge Hub advised how to “build back better” with a 15-Minute City:
- Establish a citywide 15-Minute City vision.
- Realise your 15-Minute City vision through an inclusive engagement process.
- Improve walking and cycling infrastructure, including by reallocating street space to pedestrians and cyclists.
- Create complete neighbourhoods by decentralising core services and developing a social and functional mix.
- Implement planning measures to help complete neighbourhoods to thrive.
- Encourage teleworking and service digitalisation to limit the need for travel.
Does it seem like Oxford’s Councils are following the “build back better” plan?
And the plan fits into the Smart City agenda. In January 2021, a paper was published in Smart Cities to introduce the “15-Minute City”:
While cities endure lockdowns in order to ensure decent levels of health, the challenges linked to the unfolding of the pandemic have led to the need for a radical re-think of the city, leading to the re-emergence of a concept, initially proposed in 2016 by Carlos Moreno: the “15-Minute City”. The concept, offering a novel perspective of “chrono-urbanism,” adds to existing thematic of Smart Cities …
The success of this concept, as it has been shown in the city of Paris under the leadership of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, has been hailed as a potent urban planning concept that will lead to an economic boost, while bringing about social cohesion and interaction and help create sustainable ecosystems in cities, more so after the experiences of Covid-19 and associated containment measures.
While some of the features of the “15-Minute City” concept had been temporarily adopted in different cities after the impacts of Covid-19, its adoption in long-term planning would result in a higher quality of life as proximity to basic services would help in saving time wasted in traffic, thus promoting sustainable mobility.
This will aid in efforts to reduce emissions as envisioned in the Paris agreement and promote higher cultural outputs, amongst others. For instance, by re-thinking the transportation system to create more biking and walkable streets, the challenges of private car ownership will be somehow addressed as they will be reduced as more people embrace biking culture.
In addition, as expressed by Reimer, the adoption of the “15-Minute City” concept will also open gateways for more novel digital innovations such as bike-sharing technologies that would increase the high livability experiences of urban residents. For instance, as is expressed by Gehl, the re-thinking of cities to facilitate walkability and cycling would, in turn, inspire the creation of parks, squares and public places within neighbourhoods, and by doing so, it would help to bridge the social inequality in accessing such facilities, which are not always available for everyone in a car-dependent city.Introducing the “15-Minute City”: Sustainability, Resilience and Place Identity in Future Post-Pandemic Cities, 2. A Perspective on the 15-Minute City as an Urban Planning Pandemic Response, Smart Cities, 8 January 2021
And of course, the World Economic Forum (“WEF”) likes the idea of 15-Minute Cities. A WEF article in November 2021 stated: “One of the biggest urban ideas to emerge from the pandemic is the idea of the 15-minute city or 15-minute neighbourhood … Various cities around the world have begun to embrace the 15-minute city approach … Such experiments are unprecedented and exciting.”
Exciting for whom?
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