Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: County Hall, New Road, Oxford

Contact: Graham Warrington  Tel: 07393 001211; E-Mail:  graham.warrington@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

42/19

Petitions and Public Address

Minutes:

 

 

Speaker

 

 

Item

 

John White (Burford Town Council, Mayor)

County Councillor Nicholas Field-Johnson

 

 

)

) 4. Burford Weight Limit

)

)

 

 

 

43/19

Burford Weight Limit pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Forward Plan Ref: 2019/090

Contact: Natalie Moore, Assistant Transport Planner Tel: 07917 534327

 

Report by Director for Planning & Place (CMDE4).

 

This report seeks Cabinet Member approval to move forward with an 18 month experimental environmental weight limit covering the length of Burford High Street between the A40 roundabout to the south and the A361/A424 junction just north of Burford Bridge.  

 

The town council, local residents and local members of the county council have been campaigning for a weight limit for Burford for many years. They are concerned about noise, vibration, air pollution and road safety issues associated with lorry traffic as well as the negative impact on the town's tourist economy.

 

However, this is being taken forwards on a temporary, experimental basis initially.  This is because of concerns raised in traffic modelling work that lorries might divert via other towns and villages, transferring these problems there instead.  This would not be acceptable but there is some scepticism about how accurately it is possible to predict such diversion and an expectation that much of the lorry traffic diverting away from Burford would do so via major A roads and motorways, particularly in the case of long-distance lorry traffic.  Traffic monitoring will, therefore, be carried out at a number of key locations in order to identify any possible, adverse effects.

 

The cost of implementation, including the major costs of signing and enforcement, would be met by the local community.  This project would be the first community funded weight limit in Oxfordshire and can be seen as a pilot for other such schemes elsewhere in future.

 

The remaining details of enforcement and the operation of a permit scheme (for local access to locations outside Burford High Street for which avoiding the High Street would be too onerous) have been finalised and detailed in this report as stipulated in the Cabinet Member for Environment Delegated Decisions report of November 2018.  Further work has taken place to examine how enforcement and prosecution can be devolved to Burford Town Council, the details of which are set out within this report.

 

The Cabinet Member is RECOMMENDED to approve the implementation of the experimental weight limit order for Burford.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Environment considered (CMDE4) a scheme promoting an 18 month experimental environmental weight limit covering the length of Burford High Street between the A40 roundabout to the south and the A361/A424 junction just north of Burford Bridge in response to concerns which had existed locally for many years regarding noise, vibration, air pollution and road safety issues associated with lorry traffic as well as the negative impact on the town's tourist economy.

 

The scheme was being taken forwards on a temporary, experimental basis initially in order to gauge the effect of diverted traffic on other towns and villages. 

 

John White (Burford Town Mayor) expressed his support for the recommendation to introduce the experimental order.  Reaffirming Burford Town Council’s commitment to the scheme both financially and administratively it was a strong case with a long history going back to 1982.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to comments received from County Councillor Ian Hudspeth (Woodstock Division) regarding the need for robust air quality monitoring and M40 signing to discourage use of the A361 by lorries travelling south on the A44 through Woodstock.  She also referred to a risk assessment carried out with Gloucestershire County Council and tests to be applied to monitor air quality at specified points adding that the scheme would be removed if those tests failed and costs had been built into the scheme to cover that eventuality. She recognised Burford Town Council’s commitment to the scheme including enforcement and data collection although the County Council could not delegate its prosecution responsibility. She understood that Highways England had indicated that if signing off the M40 was permitted those costs could be in the region of circa £23,000 to £30,000 but acknowledged comments from officers that the number of lorries using the A361 was low so in their opinion signing would be of little use. The scheme did now include a sign on the A361 at Banbury and the need for a sign on the M40 itself could be  considered at a later date.  With regard to air quality she felt it was important to start with a pre-condition on that issue prior to the experiment coming in.

 

Councillor Nick Field-Johnson expressed his support for the scheme which was desperately needed to offset further damage to buildings and the local environment. Regarding air quality issues he considered it imperative that a minimum % increase should be agreed before the experimental order was put at risk rather than the suggestion of stopping the order immediately if any increase was reported.

 

The Cabinet Member then for the record referred to the following written submissions from other County Councillors whose divisions would be affected by this scheme:

 

Councillor Charles Mathew – “felt that increased traffic levels on A40 would be undesirable.”

 

Councillor Ian Hudspeth – “We can all agree that we want to remove the ‘cross county’ (ie conducting no business within the county) HGVs from using inappropriate routes that go through Oxfordshire’s towns and villages. The reason the vehicles do  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43/19