From The Daily Mail
Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons in fight to ban lorries from his Oxfordshire town
- The revered actor is leading Watlington Against Pollution and HGVs
The group is fighting for a ban on lorries using the town as a rat-run
Lorries regularly pass through on their way between the M4 and M40
He is a passionate campaigner on green issues, and now Jeremy Irons has backed a campaign to ban lorries from the quaint Oxfordshire town where he lives.
The Oscar–winning actor has thrown his weight behind an action group to prevent HGVs using the narrow streets of Watlington as a rat-run between the M40 and M4.
The market town – reputedly the smallest in the country – is regularly snarled up with lorries whose drivers, looking for a shortcut between Oxford and Reading, are directed there by their satnavs.
Watlington Against Pollution and HGVs plans to put pressure on local councils to take action against the out-of-place vehicles.
Irons, 65, star of Brideshead Revisited, lives in the picturesque town with his wife, Sinead Cusack, which has been used as the backdrop for ITV crime drama, Midsomer Murders.
Nestled between the Vale of Oxford and the steep slopes of the Chilterns, records show it was once the site of a Saxon settlement in the 8th century.
But Bronze Age axe and Roman coins have also been excavated, suggesting it has a much earlier past.
Keith Lovelace, the group’s chairman, said: ‘Jeremy Irons is a resident of Watlington and he feels strongly about it so it makes sense for him to be part of it.
‘We all know that if there is a celebrity behind a cause then it gets better publicity.
‘We have a lot of people behind us and we are determined to succeed.’
An air pollution report conducted earlier this year found that readings were similar to those recorded in the London borough of Lewisham.
This was due to the number of large vehicles and the tall buildings in narrow streets acting like a canyon affect, trapping it low to the ground.
Irons, who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1991 for his portrayal of the fictional character Claus von Bülow in the Hollywood blockbuster, Reversal of Fortune, agreed to become patron after being made aware of the pressure group by his personal assistant, who was already a member.
Mr Lovelace said they understood the need for lorries to supply businesses and deliveries to homeowners, and the group is targeting passing HGVs.
One measure being looked at is to introduce a congestion charge scheme.