Lorries could be stopped travelling through villages but at what cost?

PUBLISHED: 11:33 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:42 14 August 2019

A lorry driver heads back to his vehicle after walking across a bridge to ask residents for directions to the village. Picture: Archant

Families could see fewer lorries travelling through their villages as a watch scheme is created to shun drivers ignoring weight restrictions on country roads.

Residents in Barnham are hoping to reduce the amount of lorries coming through their village with a new scheme. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYResidents in Barnham are hoping to reduce the amount of lorries coming through their village with a new scheme. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nine villages in the east have joined the scheme including Barnham, near Thetford, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

It has been set-up in conjunction with Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards and Suffolk Highways. Suffolk’s Lorry Watch started in 2012 and has reported nearly 3,000 HGVs exceeding weight limits. The council said existing schemes had been a “great success” with only four repeat offenders being issued with a warning, meaning “that drivers are taking notice when they are first contacted”.

Councillor Joanna Spicer has welcomed the scheme.
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pPicture: Archant.Councillor Joanna Spicer has welcomed the scheme. Picture: Archant.

Residents in Barnham had been noticing HGV drivers regularly ignoring weight restrictions and wanted to do something about it. But county councillor for Barnham, Joanna Spicer MBE, highlighted that lorries are still needed in the village.

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She said: “It is a great scheme and I welcome the volunteers who give up their time but it is a difficult area.

“I’ve been a county councillor for 30 years and lorries through villages have always been an issue. It’s difficult to impose lorry bans or restrictions without affecting other villages. “If we want businesses in the village they will need lorries for deliveries and if we want village shops.

If we want to keep the agricultural industry lorries have to come and go.” Weight restriction orders make it an offence to drive a vehicle through the restricted area where the vehicle exceeds the weight limit imposed unless they are exempt when delivering or collecting within the restriction zone. If drivers from the same haulage company are being reported, that firm will receive advice on training their staff.

The offence remains with the driver unless the haulage firm has caused the offence.

Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “Lorry Watch has proved highly effective in reducing the number of HGVs travelling through restricted areas.

“I’m grateful to the volunteers who report potential offenders to us, so that we can do our best to make sure our local communities and highways are kept safe.”

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