Cllr Liam Walker
Less than a week to comment on Burford HGV ban
Oxfordshire County Council are seeking the views of local residents on proposals to implement a permanent 7.5 tonne weight restriction in the town of Burford, West Oxfordshire.
Currently an experimental order has been in place since August 2020 to prevent goods vehicles that exceed 7.5 tonnes passing through Burford town from the A40 using the A361, Barns Lane and Tanners Lane.
Permit applications for exemption have been managed by Burford Town Council for HGV owners or operators who are based locally. HGV traffic has been advised to use alternative routes including the A40, A44, A361, A422, A424, A429 and the A436.
However, some local councillors, residents, and businesses are campaigning for the weight restriction to be removed altogether due to the impact it’s having on the surrounding area.
County councillor Liam Walker who represents the Hanborough and Minster Lovell division said, “What has become very clear since August last year is that this ban has resulted in local businesses having to use alternative routes that often cut through smaller villages like Minster Lovell, Crawley, or Leafield. The roads through these villages aren’t designed for this level of traffic, unlike the A-road running through the town of Burford.”
He added, “The restriction is apparently being put in place on the grounds of road safety and improving the environment of the area. In reality, this ban has just caused significant problems for smaller villages nearby and made things difficult for local hauliers who don’t want to use and should not have to be using these narrow roads.”
This view is also shared by residents in the village of Leafield who have seen an increase in the number of HGVs being forced to cut through their village. Before Christmas locals were surveying on The Green to count the number of HGVs now coming through.
Leafield Parish Council Chairman, Gina Pearce said, “The temporary experimental weight restriction in Burford is having a detrimental impact in Leafield in terms of safety, the environment and the road infrastructure. Many parishioners have expressed their significant concerns to the Parish Council and Oxfordshire County Council. We hope OCC act quickly to address these concerns and terminate this experiment. The status quo is an accident waiting to happen!”
Concerns were raised about the risk of displacement of HGVs by Rhys Williams from the Road Haulage Association who said, “The permit scheme is not fit for purpose, basing it on a 5 mile radius of the haulier is farcical, the business owners affected are within the 5 miles but their hauliers aren’t. Burford Town Council clearly don’t understand how road freight works, it should be about the end user, who the haulier is serving. I predicted and warned John White (Burford Town Mayor) that the consequences of implementing this weight limit is forcing HGV traffic from a main A road onto country village lanes which are simply not built to take HGV traffic.”
Oxfordshire County Council will be considering in due course whether the provisions of the Experimental Order should be continued in force indefinitely. All comments or objections must be submitted by Friday 5th February 2021 and this can be done via the consultation portal on the county council website or by emailing email@example.com.