How has Robert been working to address issues facing our rural communities in Western Oxfordshire

As the MP for Witney & West Oxfordshire, I am focussed on addressing the issues that affect our rural communities.  I continue to campaign for: much more support of our local farmers, a clamp down on rural crime and for the potholes that have for too long blighted our roads in Oxfordshire to receive long-term repairs.  

Tackling Potholes  

I have been campaigning for a long time for more funding to tackle potholes in Oxfordshire. Before the Chancellor’s most recent Spring Budget, I wrote and met with him in person to stress the importance of more funding for long-term road surface repairs instead of current quick, patchwork repairs that our County Council have been opting for. 

Progress has been made recently with additional Government funding being allocated to over 50 locations between April and June, demonstrating the biggest road surface dressing to take place in Oxfordshire in over two decades. This means almost one million square meters of carriageway will be improved in our area backed by an additional £2.6 million funding package from the Government to keep our roads in better condition for years to come. This includes an extra level of accountability to ensure local authorities publish their resurfacing plans every quarter. This way we can better make sure the Council spends government allocated money efficiently and effectively. 

This comes on top of £2,629,000 of extra investment for Oxfordshire’s roads last and this year, meaning over the next 10-year period Oxfordshire will receive a total of £82,340,000 in funding, which has been redirected from HS2 – the biggest ever uplift in funding for local road improvement. 

I know we all remain deeply frustrated at the Council’s repeated mismanagement of taxpayer’s money on our roads.  An eye-watering £8 million on the roll-out of 20mph zones, £151,676 on 20mph propaganda and nearly £10,000 towards the purchase of 20mph colouring books for school children are just a few examples of the Council’s mismanagement of your money. Where our County Council has failed, the Government has had to step in with additional funding. 

I will be following progress on this closely and I look forward to seeing roads across West Oxfordshire finally receive some essential long-term repairs. 

Supporting Western Oxfordshire’s Farmers  

The tireless work our hardworking farmers do to put high-quality British food on our tables must always be recognised. West Oxfordshire produce is the envy of the world, and it is vital that the Government supports our local farmers however possible. 

It is for this reason I am pleased that the Government has recently pledged £2.4 billion a year to back the British farming sector, West Oxfordshire itself having seen £10,881,077 invested between 1st of April 2023 & February 2024. Included in this is £427 million to support farmers transitioning to Sustainable Farming Incentives (SFI) matched with much needed cuts to planning red tape to help farmers grow their business.  

However, from speaking with local farmers regularly, I remain acutely aware of the challenges facing the sector. I continue to stay in regular contact with Steve Barclay the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure he is aware of the ongoing challenges facing West Oxfordshire’s farmers and action is taken to address these concerns. 

Tough on Rural crime 

I have always advocated for rural crime to be taken seriously. I am very pleased with the recent progress that the Thames Valley Police Rural Crime Taskforce has made, bringing rural crime down 12% and recovering more than £4 million of stolen machinery and equipment. 

With 784 new police officers recruited on our streets in the Thames Valley the Government has now delivered on its 2019 Manifesto promise to recruit more police officers. I continue to work side by side with our Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber.  

Most recently, with Matthew I was pleased to host a Rural Crime Summit. This event focused on what more can be done to tackle rural crime and how local authorities, the police, and the Government can work together to address concerns facing rural areas.  

Flooding & Local Infrastructure 

Flooding remains a key issue across Western Oxfordshire. I have been working together with Thames Water as well as the Environmental Agency to ensure issues with flooding are addressed promptly and long term, preventative solutions are put in place wherever possible.  

On top of this, I have argued for some time for stricter rules to be in place to prevent houses being built on flood plains and for infrastructure upgrades to occur before - not after - new homes are built. This, alongside community support for any new developments, must remain a top priority when development proposals are being considered.  

I continue to share residents' concerns about the condition of our waterways here in Oxfordshire and as many of you will know, I have personally been campaigning on this issue of sewage pollution since 2017, not long after I was first elected. I work hard to engage closely with local environmental groups, Parish Councils, Thames Water, Government bodies and constituents, taking every opportunity possible to represent the strength of feeling I know West Oxfordshire’s residents hold on this subject.  Please do read more here:


Rural Survey

  • Current Rural Survey
  • Details
  • Your details
1.3. Have you experienced any of the following types of rural crime/anti-social behaviour?
1.4. Which Three Local issues concern you most? Pick three
1.5. Which THREE national issues do you think are a priority?
1.6. Improving transport: Which TWO are most important to you?
Pick TWO.

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