THE M40 was reopened at about 10.30pm last night following the severe lorry fire.

More than 20 tonnes of hay on the back of the articulated lorry had caught fire just before the flyover at Junction 11 at Banbury. 

Fire crews were called to the scene shortly before 3pm and quickly bought it under control but because of the severity of it it took several hours before the burnt hay could be moved away. 

A local farmer offered his JCB to assist the fire service and vehicles were sent in from Banbury Plant Hire to help them break-up the bales. 

Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Group Manager Kerry Blair said: "Due to the nature of the material on fire, along with the hazard of the explosions from the vehicle fire it was necessary to close the southbound carriageway for public and firefighter safety. 

"I would like to thank the public in traffic queues for their patience and commend the actions of our partner organisations who worked hard to ensure that safety was maintained and the M40 was re-opened as soon as practicable."