• The Bridge Burford

HGVs - An Alternative View




Facts not fiction about the HGV Ban in Burford.

Love thy neighbour and fellow Communities

When money was being raised in the town for the 7.5t weight restriction in Burford, were you told where the 400-600 HGVs were going to go? Did anyone mention that it would mean HGVs having to burn more fossil fuels to by-pass the town while we are in a climate emergency? Were you told it would impact and damage your neighbouring Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire villages, towns, businesses and farms? Was it sold to you that the long distance HGVs driving through Burford would divert to Morton-in-Marsh, Enstone and Woodstock (in the case of Woodstock the recent OCC report showed a 35% increase in HGVs); they too have a tourist industry and beautiful buildings. Did anyone mention that a few of these long-haul HGVs would cut through the tiny villages of the Barringtons and Swinbrook? Did you know that the permit scheme is only good for a journey that starts and finishes within a 4.8-mile radius of Burford making local businesses on the edge of Brize Norton, Witney, Standlake etc ineligible for a permit? And even if eligible, that for each vehicle they must fill in a paper form and send a cheque through the post? Some have been threatened with prosecution if they go over the bridge again. One local business on the edge of Brize Norton has a client in Taynton; the journey via Burford is 7.5 miles, but the enforced diversion via the A40, A429 and A424 is 30.5 miles, with several deliveries and pickups. What is this doing for the environment?

Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) represents the local and regional interests of 14 Town & Parish Councils, 51 businesses and a growing number of farms within a radius of 20 miles of Burford in our campaign against the weight restriction through the town. At their cabinet meeting on 29 July Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), much encouraged by Burford’s town councillors and despite a comprehensive, objective appeal by WiVTAG, decided to prolong the Burford A361 Experimental Traffic Regulation Order until its final review in February 2022.

The facts, collated over many months of research to support our appeal for a regional solution to a regional problem, are:

  • many of your local farmers are effectively isolated and outside the 4.8-mile permit zone; unable to move livestock, harvest crops or supplies while their international hauliers can no longer access their farms with 3-5 axle HGVs;

  • your regional transporters and hauliers are, by their own admission, being forced to take lengthy, expensive, and polluting diversions through tiny villages; diverting 40 miles (+) or in some cases refusing to deliver/collect from local businesses, construction sites or retail outlets on unsuitable minor roads;

  • young school children at a village school are now scared to walk on their two foot-wide pavements, inches from transiting HGVs;

  • owners of roadside properties are seeing serious damage to verges, roads, and pavements;

  • and the residents around Bridge Street in Witney, already in a declared Air Quality Managed Area (i.e. where pollution levels exceed 40 μgm-3) may suffer a further pollution increase to a dangerous level due to traffic diverted from Burford, a town which has recorded consistently below the national guidance limit of 40 μgm-3.

The Burford scheme contradicts policies in OCC’s Local Transport Plan. WiVTAG’s appeal is for the application of these established County Council transport policies. Our campaign will continue with some urgency, while we endeavour, not to change the inevitable characteristics of life on an A Road (noise and vibration) but to protect the safety, property and livelihoods of our rural communities.

Article submitted by WiVTAG. If you would like a full copy of the WiVTAG Appeal document, please email WiVTAG@outlook.com.

Let us have your views on this issue at editor@thebridgeburford.co.uk. It would be interesting to receive ideas about what a “regional solution” to the problem might look like if it were to be other than reverting to all the HGVs going though Burford -Ed.