Truckers are being warned Oxfordshire County Council is installing new ANPR cameras to catch and fine any drivers of vehicles over 18 tonnes MGW found crossing a medieval bridge on A415.

Oxfordshire County Council is installing new numberplate recognition cameras to protect Newbridge, a listed Medieval structure on the A415. It’s the first time APNR cameras are used to enforce a road weight restriction in the county.

No vehicles of any kind which have a maximum gross weight of more than 18 tonnes are permitted to cross it. 

The council said that over time, infractions have led to damage to the fragile structure that wasn’t designed to carry modern traffic – although weight restrictions have been in place since 2006.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “OCC is committed to protecting this irreplaceable historic bridge and this technology allows us to do just that.

“We are responding to concerns from the local community and have engaged with businesses and residents to inform them of the work we are doing.”

The cameras use optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. “Overweight vehicles” using the bridge can be fined up to £1000.

New road signs to alert drivers about weight restriction

OCC has also added new road signs in the area to alert drivers to the weight restriction and enforcement activity. Trading Standards officers are proactively monitoring the bridge and enforcing the weight limit.

Drivers of heavy vehicles can find help at the Freight Gateway – an internet tool which will aid with route planning. Access to the Freight Gateway and other information on Oxfordshire County Council weight restriction enforcement can be found here.

The use of the cameras will help to protect the bridge and extend its useful life – minimising the need for expensive repairs, which like maintenance are paid by council tax and businesses rates.

Newbridge is a 13th century bridge, one of two oldest surviving bridges across the Thames. It was built by Benedictine monks from Deerhurst Prior on the orders of King John to improve access between the wool towns in the south of England, and the Cotswold farms.

During the Civil War, Newbridge, the bridge was the scene of a battle when Parliamentarian William Waller attempted to cross it to surround Oxford and capture King Charles, but was defeated.