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FTA denies HGVs bring ‘bedlam’ to villages

Freight Transport Association (FTA) has denied claims by the Local Government Association (LGA) that lorries are bringing ‘bedlam’ to Britain’s villages.

The LGA is calling for local councils to have more powers to tackle HGV drivers who breach weight and width restrictions.

But FTA says most drivers do adhere to the regulations and that many HGV journeys through villages are necessary to supply goods to village shops, pubs and other local businesses, or to deliver groceries and heavy furniture items to homes.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Urban Logistics said:
“FTA fully supports enforcement of weight and width restrictions and actively helps its members to adhere to these with regular updates on regulations and industry innovations. Transferring responsibility for policing these restrictions to local residents would be fraught with problems because most would not have the relevant knowledge to make judgements.

“Weight limits are not HGV bans and residents may not understand different sizes of trucks. Also, most weight restrictions are on an ‘except for access’ basis – some HGVs may be making legitimate visits to local business or indeed residents, such as home removals or washing machine deliveries.”

LGA has issued a press release calling on the Government to enable councils to take enforcement action because “villages and rural communities across the country have been blighted by a recent spate of lorry smashes”.

FTA says Department for Transport figures show that deaths and serious injuries involving lorries have halved in the last 10 years and the four examples in the past 10 years quoted by LGA don’t illustrate that the problem of lorries in villages constitutes a ‘spate’ or are getting worse.

Christopher added:
“The logistics industry is working hard to reduce the problem of HGVs using inappropriate routes, such as HGV-specific sat navs that are now on the market. Most operators do follow the rules, and the handful that don’t should be detected and dealt with.”

FTA also noted that in the most recent year for which we have figures, HGVs were involved in less than a third of motorway deaths, as opposed to more than half as quoted by the LGA.

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