Councillor Sarah Osborne, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Ouse Valley West and Downs welcomes powers to enforce weight limits on HGVs but points out that these are meaningless without the necessary support from CCTV cameras or Enforcement Officers, both of which will cost councils money. Cllr Osborne explains:
“HGVs have been a cause of misery to village residents in Ditchling and elsewhere for many years. The narrow high street is frequently blocked by large unsuitable lorries and pedestrians report many near misses as these vehicles mount the pavements in an effort to navigate the narrow street.
I successfully lobbied the Secretary of State for powers to enforce weight limits on HGVs despite all the Conservative County Councillors voting against this. However, in the four years it has taken the government to act, the problem has got worse.
Passing enforcement powers onto councils will only work if they are given the funding to enable local authorities to use them. For offences to be detected, they would need to be witnessed by a Civil Enforcement Officer or CCTV cameras, both of which would require significant set up costs.”
Councillor Osborne also points out that further powers are needed to stop HGVs accessing unsuitable roads. She explains:
“Lorry satnavs are like normal car satnavs, but they include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks. In addition, they allow the driver to enter the lorry’s dimensions - height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads. I welcome extra enforcement powers for councils but I am concerned that those alone will not solve the difficulties our residents are facing. The government needs to do more to help.”