News from the Black Bourton Environment Committee...

THE WOODYARD, situated at the end of the cul-de-sac which is Burford Rd (the main road through our village which is also a footpath in places) is again attempting to increase traffic of HGVs through the village to unsustainable levels.

This is our beautiful village :

This is what is currently happening to our village:

  • Burford Rd is a cul-de-sac. Every HGV that travels through the village has to come out the same way i.e. double the traffic. 
  • We do not have pavements.
  • Pedestrians, cyclists, pram pushers, horse riders and children have to share the road with HGVs and other traffic.
  • The road is not wide enough for 2 x HGVs to pass each other without mounting verges (see above picture).
  • On street parking of residents.
  • Damage to road surfaces and the blind railway bridge. 
  • The school bus is not allowed to travel through the village (for safety reasons) schoolchildren have to walk the full length to the bus stop.
  • Several planning applications by Elmwood Farm have already been refused, mainly on the grounds of Road Safety.


It would be easy to accuse the villagers of being NIMBYS, but please make up your own mind and come and have a look.
See below what the WODC planners have to say – and they are certainly not NIMBYS!

November 2015 WODC Planners say:

“Max. number permitted should be 20 HGVs per the interests of road safety”

March 2016 (4 months later):
Applicant seeks planning permission for an average of extra 65 HGVs per week.

Total could now be between 65/wk in summer and over 100/wk in winter.

How could any Planning Authority even consider such an application?!

West Oxfordshire District Council have filed this objection – please support them and us, and protect other West Oxfordshire villages from the damaging effects of HGV traffic:

“The District Council Strongly objects to the substantial intensification of traffic and daily chipping given the extant and continuing use for the processing of virgin wood on site. The intensification of wood processing on the site with associated levels of vehicular activity and daily chipping of waste wood is likely to have an unacceptable impact on neighbouring amenity due to increased noise, disturbance and vehicle movements. Furthermore the District Council is concerned that the local network would be unable to cope with the type and level of HGV and trailer traffic associated with the increased use of the site in terms of both safety, pedestrian safety and convenience.
"Notwithstanding the above objection, if OCC is minded to approve the application then conditions should be attached which mirror those imposed on planning permission 15/03118/FUL in respect of hours of operation, number of types of vehicular movements and noise levels. Failure to do so will make enforcement of the two separate but overlapping planning permissions (one for virgin wood and one for waste wood) at the site impractical and fail the relevant test for imposing planning conditions, which given the degree of local comment and objection about even the extent of existing operations would not be acceptable.” 

The CPRE had this to say to Oxfordshire County County Council:

“I have a number of comments to make on behalf of the CPRE, as follows:

· Fundamentally, in sustainability terms, should an application do harm, it should only
be passed if the benefit outweighs said harm.

· Benefits- In this case, the additional jobs created are not significant (2 extra jobs), so
the economic and social benefit is minimal. On the face of it, recycling implies an
environmental benefit and responsible use of waste materials. Waste steel needs
processing (smelting) to be re-used and as a result can be successfully recycled to a
figure of nearly 100%. Waste concrete needs crushing (using significant energy) for
limited re-use and so is not ideal for recycling. In the case of timber however, in the
main, it need not be recycled at all, as it is a natural fuel. Of course breaking the
timber down is helpful even in for use as biomass fuel to make it transportable and
convenient, it may be worth requesting a carbon footprint/ sustainability calculation
to find out whether this recycling process and associated transport provides a net
gain in energy terms. It may well be the case that there is no real sustainability
benefit here, albeit that there may be a demand. The Applicant seeks to avoid
timber going to landfill, but it is at least biodegradable.

· Harm- There are a number of social and environmental impacts that arise from this
application, as follows:

1. The site is close to an SSSI, so wildlife is bound to be affected by extra noise,
vibration and contamination. The CPRE would therefore request that a
proper EIA is carried out. For example a desk study regarding newts is not
sufficient in the CPRE’s view. There is significant potential for newts to be
found in stacked timber, especially with ponds and the Shill Brook nearby.

2. The backdrop may be the RAF Base, but otherwise, the operation is in open
countryside close to a village and not in an industrial area.

3. This sort of operation could do significant harm to the heritage and rural
character of Black Bourton. The area around Burford Road has significant
charm and of course a village with a business generating HGV traffic is bound
to be less attractive, especially with verges affected. The Applicant makes
comparisons to past operations on the site, but a mushroom farm would
seem to be a more in-keeping and rural use of the land and it employed far
more people. Whatever traffic the previous business generated, no
information is provided regarding the type of vehicle involved. In view of the
number of employees, it could have been mostly cars

4. Traffic itself is not really a matter for the CPRE. However, in this case, the
CPRE’s concern is that the HGVs will have to travel through a number of
villages. Alvescot, Kencot, Filkins, Bampton, Curbridge & Lew could all be
affected. Others no doubt will comment on the danger of HGV traffic on the
narrow roads through these villages and the lack of wider accident data, but
from the CPRE’s point of view HGV traffic should not be actively encouraged
through conservation areas and rural villages, as it erodes the character.
West Oxfordshire relies on its rural charm for tourism and this should not be

5. It is of note that the Applicant claims that the traffic increase is 3%, based on
the survey data provided and expected trip generation. That may be true, but
the balance of the traffic would be the CPRE’s concern. For example, the
Applicant has indicated that 6 OGV2 (articulated) vehicle movements per day
will be generated. The survey shows that at present there is in most cases on
average 1 HGV per day or 2 movements. The total could be 6-8 movements
per day (depending on how many vehicles in the survey were due to the
existing operation) if this application is permitted, so a potential increase
to 400%. Therefore, the articulated vehicle trip increase is significant and not
minimal as implied. Similarly, the increase in OGV2 (rigid) vehicle movements
is significantly more that 3%. Current OGV2 traffic may be vans and school
buses, so 11 rigid trips per day, may also have an impact.

6. Time restrictions to vehicle movements will be hard to police and enforce
and there is the potential for discipline on conditions such as these to slip,
rendering them ineffective and thereby creating danger for school children.

7. On balance therefore, a business like this one should be located closer to an
A road.

8. The effect of dust created by the processing of wood has not been
considered. Neither has any consideration been given to the potential for fuel
spillages and general contamination/ pollution in the ground water that could
reach the Shill Brook.

9. Vibration has not been assessed by the applicant and this could be

10. The CPRE notes that the Applicant is proposing mitigation measures to
reduce noise. Nevertheless, an increase in background noise of 5dB is being
accepted. From what the CPRE understands, this is a significant increase and
will more than double background noise. The argument that this is
reasonable because the area is already affected by noise from RAF Brize
Norton is not accepted by the CPRE. By and large the ground running noise is
at night, so this proposal suggests that Black Bourton residents should not
only suffer night time noise, but also suffer increased noise during the day
and the hours of operation are long. In any event, the RAF has plans to
mitigate the aircraft noise.

11. The split of the use of the shredder and the chipper is not clear and neither is
the proportion of the timber that will go through each process. This should
be clarified, as it will have an impact on duration and hence extent of
nuisance caused by the noise, vibration and pollution.

· The CPRE would question whether the current use of the site has the required
permission. It appears that WODC granted permission in November 2015, after
temporary permission to process 1,400T expired in March 2015, but OCC permission
may be required for this type of activity, whether it’s 4,000T or 7,800T.

In conclusion, in the absence of more detailed information regarding the potential harm done by this proposal, the CPRE objects.”


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