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Not suitable for HGVs?



As you turn onto the Northampton Road from the A5, there is a sign that has a symbol of a crossed-through HGV and the words 'Local Access Only' underneath. This sign is intended to inform HGV drivers that the road is unsuitable for HGVs and that it should be used only by those who's destination lies along the road.

As can be seen from the photos above, HGVs can get into significant difficulties when using the road, whether or not they are using the road for Local Access. Apart from getting stuck, of course, there is the problem of what SNC refer to as 'causing significant highway damage...' and also the safety implications in a village that has an increasing number of young children.

The official policy document of SNC, 'Lorry Management 2011', gives a little help, but compare this with the one for Cambridge Council's 'HGV Policy 2015', which seems to be much more direct, and includes a flowchart showing a suggested process for tackling the issue.

If you have views on this matter, please contact us.

This is the response from Highways at SNC to the issue being raised with them.

 'Many thanks for your email.

 I am sorry to hear of the problems residents have been experiencing in relation to the use of the village by large vehicles. The unnecessary use of inappropriate roads by HGV’s is an emotive issue, as well as causing significant highway damage, this also generates a considerable volume of complaints from other road users, and people living in communities through which these vehicles pass. It is therefore important to manage the movement of freight so as to reduce the need for road maintenance and improve the quality of life for communities, but at the same time ensuring that the problem is not transferred elsewhere.

 In the past Northamptonshire Highways have installed ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’ signs at the junction with the A5. However, these signs are purely advisory and are designed to advise HGV motorists that the route is unsuitable as a through route, and serve to protect communities from unwanted HGV traffic that might be misguided by satellite navigation systems. The signs are not prohibitive and therefore do not exclude hauliers from using these routes, however, they have proven effective at many locations around the County and have been well received by Councillors and local communities. The idea of the sign was devised as an alternative to 7.5t amenity weight restrictions, these are costly to implement because of the legal process and the associated signage necessary to comply with regulations. They are not enforced by the local Police due to a lack of resources and the authority continuously receive complaints from communities that these are being abused.  In addition to this it would be almost impossible to implement a restriction covering only Litchborough which would not displace the problem to other villages in the area and the bigger the restricted area becomes the harder it is to enforce.
 We have worked with local businesses to educate them about the use of inappropriate routes, but ultimately the authority are powerless to control their vehicle movements.

 I am sorry this is not the positive response you were hoping for.

 Kind Regards
 Helen Howard
Community Liaison Officer 
(South Northants, Wellingborough & Northampton) Northamptonshire Highways
Old Greens Norton Road, Towcester NN12 8AX
Tel: 01604 883400 Web: www.kierwsp.co.uk'


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