Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:08

Rogue lorries bring 'bedlam' to villages

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rogue lorries bring 'bedlam' to villages

Council leaders have called for tough new rules to tackle lorry drivers who bring bedlam to rural villages.

The Local Government Association wants local authorities to be able to issue fines to 'heavy haulage road rogues' to lorry drivers who flout weight restrictions.

Doing so would "bring peace and tranquillity" back to blighted communities, said the association, which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales.

Money collected from the fines could be used towards tackling the nation's £12 billion pothole backlog, it added.

Lorries of a certain weight or width are banned from many minor roads but the police do not always have the resources to enforce the restrictions.

The government has handed powers to local authorities to take action if lorry drivers break the law.

But the LGA says councils across the country must also be given the ability to enforce weight and width restrictions in their communities.

Councils are already working with communities to organise lorry watch schemes. They are also working with freight and haulage companies to ensure lorries use the most suitable routes.

The call comes as research shows accidents involving lorries are an increasing concern.

Heavy goods vehicles are now involved in more than half of fatal motorway accidents and one-in-five fatal accidents on A-roads.

In one incident, four police officers and a translator were needed to help a driver who caused mayhem by wrapping his lorry around a tree in the village of Iwade, Kent.

Meanwhile, a driver was led astray by his satnav and ended up stuck in a narrow country lane in Ivybridge, near Plymouth, Devon.

He had to sleep in his cab for three nights before a tractor was able to pull him out.

LGA transport spokesman Peter Box said: "There has been a spate of accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and bringing bedlam to small rural communities.

"Action must be taken immediately to curb this.

"Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes.

"But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back."

Councillor Box said local authorities should be able to respond to residents' concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent if a community was being plagued by problems.

"We would stress that most lorry drivers are reputable and drive responsibly.

"These powers would be targeted at the minority who do not follow the law. This is also about protecting the drivers' safety as well as the safety of residents and other road users."

The Freight Transport Association said it fully support enforcement of weight and width restrictions and issued regular updates to help its members abide by regulations.

But the Department for Transport said it had no plans to give local authorities greater powers to enforce moving traffic contraventions.

The police already had the necessary power to take action where it was needed, it said.

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  • Guest (David)

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    Our County Council put weight limits on the two main roads in my area to cut the heavy traffic on them. Consequently the heavy lorries now use the narrow (single track in parts and with right angle bends) road, which they would never have dreamt of using before. In my village, with narrow roads and blind bends, the heavy lorries literally shake the 17 listed buildings when they pass. The CC have been patching the road repeatedly as it sinks and breaks up, but refuse to stop the lorries!

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