Trailer trucks with lights on and horns blaring took to the streets of Witney as part of a protest against the Burford lorry ban.

Hauliers, councillors and dozens of residents of the Windrush villages waved placards and heckled councillors as they arrived at a Witney Town Council meeting.

The protest was organised The Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) who represent over 50 local haulage companies and scores of Windrush Valley residents.

The lorry ban was introduced through Burford town centre in August 2020 with lorries exceeding 7.5 tonnes now forced to find alternative routes.

Oxfordshire County Council made the decision to allow the experimental weight limit order to remain in place until at least February 2022.

READ AGAIN: Windrush Valley villages pledge to fight lorry ban in Burford

Colin Carritt of WiVTAG said: “We’re lobbying Witney because Witney is a big town and it’s key to our campaign. The extra number of HGVs through Bridge Street and West End are in the order of 80 per cent and that is already an Air Quality Management Area. So we need and want Witney to be on our side.

"And they’ve already intimated that they support our campaign through some of their committees, the Traffic Advisory Committee in particular. What we want is for the full council to endorse it."

Burford residents have called for a ban since the early 1980s, with the measures expected to benefit road safety, its £15million tourism industry and the environment.

Locals said it will also lessen the damage to listed buildings, which make up 94 per cent of the High Street – the highest percentage in the UK.

But Crawley parish councillor Mark McCappin said: "Crawley is one of the villages that has a bridge over the Windrush River and there is no weight restriction on it so although all the roads in Crawley are very narrow when HGVs are unable to get over the Windrush in Burford one of the first places they can go is Crawley, and many of them do.

"We did some traffic counts – HGVs used to make up 2.6 per cent of traffic numbers, after the Burford ban it went up to 4.6 per cent - so that’s a 75, 80 per cent increase."

Jan de Haldevang, chair of Little Barrington parish council, just over the Gloucestershire border, said: "There is about 320 hectares of farmland that is effectively marooned because the hauliers can’t get to them. In order to get to those farms they’ve got to go via Stow, Moreton and then come back down here. Nonsense."

Owner driver Tony Roby added: "Now Leafield is the only way through. It adds time, fuel and time is money. It adds at least 20, 25 minutes each way."

Meanwhile Leafield resident Joode Weinhold, whose garden has become practically unusable, said she was deeply concerned and took photographs when a lorry partially shed its load outside the village school.

"What annoys me is that Burford is an A-road and none of these villages is an A-road," she said. "I was a district nurse in Burford back in the 80s and they didn’t want a bypass – I remember it, the signs up, and it was because they didn’t want to lose trade."

Protesters were supported by Hanborough & Minster Lovell county councillor Liam Walker.

He said: "I think as we can see from the great turnout tonight and from the responses collected through the county council consultation that this is not a popular scheme. The report clearly showed that displacement was taking place across the Windrush Valley and especially so in Witney along Bridge Street and West End.

“Burford is situated on a major A road and a bridge over the river was reinforced by troops during the Second World War. The idea that these HGV drivers, who have it hard enough at the moment, are now expected to travel even further to get around is utterly ridiculous.

“It’s time for some common sense and for the Burford ban to be scrapped as it’s clear it’s not working.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for travel and development strategy – Duncan Enright – who is a Witney town councillor, was heckled when he arrived.

READ AGAIN: Ban on HGVs in Burford to remain in place until February

He told protesters that the council needs to continue to hear from people in all local towns and villages who are affected by heavy lorry traffic.

He later told the Mail: "We are monitoring at the moment to get the latest traffic figures across the area. We are also talking to the Burford Town Council about widening the permit scheme for local businesses. This is in advance of a decision in early 2022 about the restriction."

He added: "The scheme was brought in as an experiment by my predecessor as an attempt to cut through traffic across the area by HGVs."