Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Lost HGV chaos could be thing of the past

HEAVY goods vehicles could be forced to stick to appropriate routes by carrying commercial satellite navigation systems

HEAVY goods vehicles could be forced to stick to appropriate routes by carrying commercial satellite navigation systems.

A motion put forward by Kevin Bulmer, who represents Goring on Oxfordshire County Council, received unanimous support this week.

It said the council, as the traffic authority, should urge the Government to make it compulsory for HGVs to have commercial satellite navigation and ban the use of personal systems.

Many communities in South Oxfordshire including Henley, Watlington and Whitchurch are used as rat-runs.

As well as traffic concerns, residents are worried about the impact HGVs have on health and the environment.

The motion said: ?The regulations need to make sure that the satellite navigation system is to be kept up-to-date with the latest agreed HGV routes and to include appropriate fines. This council believes this change could become part of the current HGV inspection and enforcement process with little to no additional cost.?

Cllr Bulmer said he was delighted to be backed by colleagues. Many, he said, had examples of HGVs causing problems in their divisions.

?It was clearly something that struck a chord with councillors,? he said.

?Whatever their [HGV drivers] reason is they are ending up on the routes they shouldn?t be. If you?re a cyclist or a pedestrian the last thing you want to do is meet a lorry.

?Private satnavs will give you the quickest route from A to B. If you?re a lorry driver the last option is the scenic route. It?s the quickest way for a car but not a lorry.

?Commercial satnavs are programmed with routing agreements and the size of your lorry,? he added.

Young musicians in Market Place, Henley
He said the Whitchurch Bridge Company, which owns the Thames bridge, had one lorry a week turned back after ignoring signs.

?We?ll be pushing this motion with the Government and the Department of Transport to do something about it,? he said.

Councillor David Nimmo Smith, county council cabinet member for transport and a Henley town councillor, said: ?Dealing with it at source is going to be a major step in the right direction.?

He hoped for an arrangement where it loaded information and applications on to commercial satnavs so operators were aware of pinch points, height restrictions and weight limits.

The council already had a freight agreement in place with major operators to stick to trunk routes unless they were doing business in the area.

Dave McEwen, treasurer of environmental campaign group Henley in Transition, said: ?It sounds like a good idea, anything that helps keep HGVs out of Henley that shouldn?t be there.

?Does that make a difference to HGVs coming from Europe? They are not going to be falling under our legislation I would have thought.?

Mr McEwen also questioned the progress of a traffic regulation order to stop HGVs using the town for environmental reasons.

Geoff Weir, secretary of the Whitchurch Bridge Company, said: ?I emailed Kevin Bulmer to say the company fully supports his motion and what?s he?s trying to do.

?They are a nuisance and when drivers get cross they take it out on our toll collectors.

?I know the village feels very strongly about it. We want to stop these big lorries coming through Whitchurch at all.

?About once a week we get an HGV coming south through Whitchurch ignoring the weight limit and low bridge signs.

?They get to the toll booth and the collectors say, ?you?re not going to get under the railway bridge at Pangbourne?, so they park up.?

Mr Weir said long, articulated lorries had to reverse all the way up to Manor Road in order to turn around.

Young musicians in Market Place, Henley

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