IN A long-forgotten episode of ‘Til Death Us do Part’ the eponymous ‘hero’ Alf Garnett, blames the Labour government for the poor weather.

It might seem equally unfair to blame the Conservatives in Cherwell and Oxfordshire for the current appalling traffic problems in Bicester. Except it isn’t.

Sheer weight of traffic is an issue but even that is not insoluble. As most of us are only too well aware, the main problem is traffic travelling through the centre of Bicester from Brackley and Banbury in the North to Oxford and destinations south.

None of this through traffic has to go through the centre at all. A properly constructed ring road would take the pressure off the town centre and Bicester Village, and would allow the route to be used only by people who need to access the town centre itself.

For the past several local elections Labour has campaigned for the completion of the ring road around Bicester. The Howes Lane section which is narrow and speed limited is a notorious bottleneck which needs to be addressed and proper signage could then direct the majority of traffic away from the centre.

This through traffic not only causes congestion, delay and frustration to residents but is also having a serious effect on air quality; Field Street/King’s End being a notable hot spot.

A proper ring road will take time and money, however, things could be done at low or no cost that would have a significant effect.

Serious problems have been created at the southern end of the A41 where a traffic system of horrendous complexity has been created with traffic lights not synchronised, thus creating stop-start driving and more pollution.

Another area where serious bottlenecks have been created by sheer lack of foresight is the chicane in Buckingham Road. This totally unnecessary piece of road furniture often requires traffic to remain stationary for several minutes at busy times because priority is accorded to traffic travelling North.

Again, this stationary traffic causes pollution and is now at busy times tails back to the roundabout and blocks the ring road.

The chicane in Banbury Road is similarly unnecessary and Labour has pledged to remove both of these unnecessary monstrosities.

The road humps in Middleton Stoney Road are another example of road furniture creating problems.

Proper signage and enforcement of speed limits are important but road humps have had their day. The constant braking and acceleration are an environmental disaster. They also damage tyres and suspension, while the vibration undermines the foundations of homes over time. Labour will campaign for removal.

Last but by no means least, Labour will campaign for no idling zones outside our schools. This will cost little, save drivers’ money and protect the health of children.

It’s not possible to magic away all our traffic problems but there are many things that can be done very quickly at little or no cost which will have a significant effect on traffic flow and air pollution. After all, we do live in a Garden Town.