Oliver worked in universities, as a social scientist, in local government and in the NHS, before his early retirement to care for his wife. He has been involved in research into rural transport and accessibility.
He is interested in rural deprivation, green tourism, ways of making rural life less transport-intensive, and the role of rural recreation in population health. His outdoor interests include walking and landscape photography.
Having encountered access restrictions prior to the CRoW Act, whilst hiking, working as a volunteer with the Durham countryside ranger service, and pushing his late wife's wheelchair, he has developed a keen interest in access issues.