Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Signs to discourage rat-running

CAMPAIGNERS in Watlington have welcomed the introduction of signs on the M40 warning of the weight limit restriction in the town.

The 7.5-tonne limit is routinely flouted by heavy goods vehicle drivers using the town as a “rat run”.

Peter Richardson, of Howe Hill, said that five years ago, before work on the Watlington neighbourhood plan had begun, his campaign group WATNEXT had “recognised that the volume of HGVs passing through Watlington’s historic town centre was unacceptable in terms of air quality and pollution, safety, congestion and damage to buildings and street furniture”.

He said Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council were sympathetic but WATNEXT was disbanded when the plan began to develop.

Mr Richardson said: “We have a 7.5-tonne weight limit but enforcement was virtually non-existent. HGVs, including many of European origin, were using satnav devices or taking a chance.

“We and our MP maintained to Highways England that part of the problem was that HGVs would exit the M40 at junction six and would proceed as there was no advance warning of our weight limit on the M40 and this was further reinforced by a lack of a turning facility.

“Almost five years of negotiation has resulted in signs being installed and this gives the police and any enforcement body extra strength. The neighbourhood plan is looking at automatic number plate recognition technology to assist.”

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