A road sign showing Oxford is being divided into ‘districts’ is fake

20 January 2023
What was claimed

A road sign reading “You are Now Leaving District 5” has been put up in Oxford.

Our verdict

Oxfordshire County Council has confirmed no such sign has been put up on its roads, and there are no plans to introduce them. The sign appears to be digitally altered, and the original image was taken in London.

An image circulating on Facebook showing a road sign supposedly in Oxford which reads “You are Now Leaving District 5” is fake. The caption of one the posts claims that Oxford is “preparing for the New World Order”.

Full Fact contacted Oxfordshire County Council about the picture, and it told us no such signs were on their roads, with no plans for them to be implemented in the future.

The original image was not taken in Oxford, but instead in Clapham, London, at least a decade ago.

Google Street View images taken in June 2008 show a sign reading “Police enforcement cameras” attached to a lamppost with the number 03392, with a green road sign visible in the distance.

However, by June 2012, the “Police enforcement cameras” sign appears to have been removed.

The original image has previously been featured in articles published by the Daily Telegraph, credited to photographer Eleanor Bentall.

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15 minute city conspiracy theories

One of the Facebook posts includes the caption “Coming soon. They're trialling in Oxford. 15 minute cities”.

We’ve written previously about social media posts claiming traffic proposals in Oxford are part of a wider plan to confine residents to their neighbourhoods.

Some posts have claimed that residents will require “permission” to leave specific areas, as part of a plan to “divide-up the city of Oxford into six ‘15 minute’ districts”.

The “15-minute neighbourhoods” plan is a genuine proposal by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, which “aims to ensure that every resident has all the essentials (shops, healthcare, parks) within a 15-minute walk of their home.”

However, neither the traffic scheme nor the 15-minute neighbourhoods proposal will require residents to seek specific permission from local authorities any time they wish to travel outside their neighbourhood, and unless residents are going by car, the schemes won’t have any impact on their ability to travel.

In a joint statement issued last month in response to inaccurate information about the proposals circulating online, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council said: “The misinformation online has linked the traffic filters to the 15-minute neighbourhoods proposal in the City Council’s Local Plan 2040, suggesting that the traffic filters will be used to confine people to their local area. This is not true. 

“The 15-minute neighbourhoods proposal aims to ensure that every resident has all the essentials (shops, healthcare, parks) within a 15-minute walk of their home. They aim to support and add services, not restrict them.”

Image courtesy of Abdulhakeem Samae

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