New Push to Obtain Traffic Regulation Order to Ban HGVs

Over many years, Henley Town Council have been looking at ways to reduce the number of HGVs who make short-cuts through the town and have been asking Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to apply for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to ban vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.

Bell Street resident and retired solicitor, Amanda Chumas has started to put forward a case to OCC’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Yvonne Constance for the introduction of a TRO in Henley with support from Henley’s County Councillor, Stefan Gawrysiak.  Amanda said, “There has been a marked increase year on year in the volume of HGVs driving through Henley since the last published traffic survey in 2013. Back then, according to the survey, HGVs made up only 3% of total traffic flow but contributed 20% of the NOx pollution. However, on top of this, since lockdown, the number of passing HGVs has ballooned because lower than normal traffic levels have encouraged HGV drivers to use the town as a cut-through to shorten their overall journey time.”

A TRO may be implemented for one or more of the following reasons:

  • avoiding danger to persons or traffic,
  • preventing damage to road or to buildings nearby,
  • facilitating the passage of traffic,
  • preventing use by unsuitable vehicles,
  • preserving the character of a road and specifically suitability for walking or horse-riding,
  • preserving or improving amenities of the area through which the road runs,
  • for any of the purposes specified in paragraph (a) to (c) of section 87 (1) of the Environment Act 1995 in relation to air quality.

HGVs with a legitimate reason to deliver or collect in Henley or within a 10 mile radius would be given a permit under the TRO.

Yvonne Constance has acknowledged to Amanda that this is the relevant legislation and has given her the town of Burford as a reference where a TRO has just been introduced after 18 months plus to progress it through its regulatory stages.  Burford paid in the region of £130,000 to cover the costs of marshalling the evidence, submitting the case and the costs incurred by OCC’s legal department in taking the application through to its formal conclusion.

Amanda has seen first-hand how the large HGVs are dangerous to pedestrians, she explains, “It is inappropriate for HGVs to use our town as a cut through, because of the ancient layout of our roads with their narrow pavements and sharp turns. I live near the junction of Bell Street and New Street. On a daily basis I can see just how dangerous these vehicles are. In order to make the 90° left-hand turn they have to slow to a halt, thereby bringing surrounding traffic to a standstill, so that they can swing out far into the lane of the oncoming traffic in Bell Street in order to complete the 90 degree manoeuvre. If they fail to swing wide out enough, invariably the rear wheels of the trailer mount the pavement outside Savills. It is a wonder to me that no one has been badly injured on that corner already. This junction is just one example. I understand that similar problems occur elsewhere in town.”

Bell Street residents live with the constant vibration and noise from HGVs passing through and damage to their timber framed listed homes can be seen.

The most important reason for banning HGVs is the air pollution they discharge.  It is well researched that air pollution can cause asthma or even worse premature death.  Last week a new air pollution monitor was installed in Greys Road which will now provide daily accurate stats of the very small and very dangerous particulates which can get into the blood and is the first to be installed in South Oxfordshire.  If it proves Henley has a particulate problem then SODC have to legally take action.  Amanda said, “This is an excellent first step.”

How can you help?  Amanda would like to you to write comments in the box below, write to Stefan and MP John Howell and copy in Amanda at




  1. clive says:

    I often cycle down White Hill on weekday afternoons at 2.30pm. HAZELL & JEFFERIES often drive through at this quieter time of day. Possibly to and from Rumbolds Pit in Benson which is not that far away. They are good considerate drivers but a 35 tonne 4-axle rigid machine dwarfs the bridge and roads from it. The lorries are simply too big.

  2. David Dickie says:

    Having seen the Nitrogen Dioxide air pollution levels fall to a lowest ever reading during lockdown, it is sad to see them starting to rise again, not to previous peaks but shoppers notice the difference. In my walks about the town I see so many HGVs with company and town names not seen in Henley previously so we do need some control on who comes and who does not. We can also help ourselves and our children not only by walking and cycling but also by driving low emission cars, 4 x 4s , taxis , vans and indeed HGVs and buses . Very pleased to see Oxford has just ordered its first electric dustbin lorry. So many more electric cars now , with a few more electric charge points on their way SODC?

  3. Ernie Povey says:

    I have asked this question several times to several different people “What proof have you that HGV’s are using Henley-on-Thames as a shortcut from where to where?”. As yet I have not had any answers.

    • Lucie says:

      Quite frequently see Tesco lorries crossing the bridge and driving through town off up the Fairmile. Our Tesco is in the other direction so not delivering.
      Also Booker lorries coming down White Hill and again off up the Fairmile. Do we have a Booker in Henley that I am not aware of or an Asda for that matter?
      Living on New Street and being woken at 4.30 by lorries speeding down the road isn’t great. The road surface doesn’t help as they hit the undulating surface it makes the trailers bounce up and down, the vibrations can be felt through the house. There has also been a marked increase in early hours HGV traffic since lockdown.

  4. Helen Slea says:

    Good to see that Gawrysiak is being pushed into doing something about HGVs in Henley. Ban them all. Close the bridge to all but cars. Pedestrianise the main streets in Henley. Build a bypass. Give the town centre over to cyclists and pedestrians.

  5. Lisa Sharpe says:

    Ban HGVs not delivering to Henley. There are too many. They are damaging historic buildings in the conservation area. The infrastructure does not support this. These large diesel HGVs cause pollution which is dangerous for public health. Most use Henley as a cut through. They make it dangerous and unpleasant for pedestrians. This is long overdue.

  6. Gemma Birch says:

    I am delighted to read this news and would happily support in anyway possible. I live just off of the Reading road and aside from the obvious air pollution, the HGV’s cause huge disruption, block the roads, and cause on coming traffic to mount the narrow pavement along Reading road to clear the traffic and as a pedestrian, with a buggy, I never feel safe walking along this road. We have even had a situation where an HGV driver tried to do a u-turn using the small mini roundabout out side the 3 horse shoes pub, got completely stuck and created a traffic jam that impacted the whole of Henley’s one way system and gridlocked the Reading road. Several local residents had to direct traffic and help sort the situation. My friends lived on Reading road and their whole house used to shake when a lorry went passed. I fail to see why they have to use Henley as a route other than if they are delivering to local companies and am in full support of this work.

  7. Anthony says:

    Here’s a suggestion just too alleviate the problem, how about petitioning the Coucil for a Third Thames Bridge that should cure most of the problems in and around Henley, i mean it’s about time now that the oxfordshie councils should pull there heads and their heels out of the sand now, been going on now for FAR to long now. JUST get on with it before Henley buildings come crashing down on people, maybe then these councils will Actually do something about it.!!!

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