Thursday, 14 December 2017

Cameras needed to identify HGVs using town as rat-run

CAMERAS should be employed to identify heavy goods vehicles that use Henley as a short cut.

CAMERAS should be employed to identify heavy goods vehicles that use Henley as a short cut.

The companies that own the lorries could then be asked to tell their drivers to use an alternative route.

This was one of a number of ideas discussed at a meeting of the Henley in Transition group, which wants to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

Other suggestions included introducing a car sharing scheme and improving and promoting the town’s cycle routes.

Keith Lovelace, who chairs campaign group Watlington Against Pollution and HGVs, said there was a camera to identify oversized lorries in Watlington, where there is a 7.5-tonne weight limit. There is no restriction in Henley.

He said the group wanted to stop oversized lorries using the town as a rat-run. Mr Lovelace said: “We have had a meeting with John Howell MP and he said that we need a comprehensive traffic survey done by the authorities and not by us. That is why we have to put pressure as a collective on the county council.”

Peter Richardson, a member of the group, said it planned to contact ROADflow, a traffic enforcement solutions specialist, which uses video to produce evidence. Its clients have included the councils in Bristol, where the company is based, and Newcastle.

Mr Richardson said: “If there were enough groups interested then we could share the cost. We must have hard evidence and go to the county council.” Town councillor Ian Reissmann said there were two ways to deter lorries from cutting through the town.

“The first is to contact people like Tesco, give them the driver and registration and ask them to stop doing it,” he said. “The second is to ban lorries and put up signs saying lorries must use a different route. They can still come in if they are delivering but they can’t transit the town.

“That would be really expensive. The county council would have all sorts of consultations and rules to follow, but we are on the cusp of three counties so it is possible if the political will was there — but it would cost money.” Dave McEwan, treasurer of Henley in Transition, said the group was going to pursue a car sharing scheme as it seemed like an “easy win”. He said: “There is a car share scheme at Invesco, which is very successful.

“We have been talking to Lift Share, a not-for-profit organisation which runs the existing Oxfordshire car share scheme.

“We hope to get the Henley Partnership and town council involved and set it up for about £1,000 and there would be running costs of about £600 a year.”

The meeting heard the town had five cycle routes but that the one behind Invesco was a “secret” and under- used while the one by Trinity School was well used but poorly maintained.

Cllr Reissmann said: “The town council has £30,000 in its budget for safety measures which has not been earmarked and could be used for signage and cutting back hedges.”

He said Invesco might be willing to put up signs directing cyclists to the route behind its offices.

The next meeting of Henley in Transition will be held at King’s Arms Barn on January 13 at 7.30pm.

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