Liberal Democrats call for council action to tackle HGV gridlock

Cllr Garth HarknessAt the full September meeting of Oldham Council Liberal Democrat Councillors Derek Heffernan and Garth Harkness proposed and seconded a Motion asking for action to tackle the traffic chaos caused by HGVs using inappropriate roads in the Borough’s smaller villages and rural areas.

Both Councillors witnessed this earlier this year when on April 26 in their own ward of Saddleworth North a large articulated lorry blocked the junction of Grains Road and King Street in Delph for four hours.

Commenting, Councillor Heffernan said: “Garth and I saw then the chaos that a HGV driver can cause in a village when trying to navigate a tight road junction in a small village. These situations usually occur when drivers ignore displayed weight or width restrictions or use satnavs designed for cars instead of those specifically designed for HGVs and large vehicles. We want the Government to change the law so that these vehicles have to be equipped with the appropriate commercial version. They may cost a little more, but they will help reduce the price paid in inconvenience by local residents, such as our constituents in Delph, and other road users.”

The two Councillors also want the Council to support a call by the Local Government Association that Government give local authorities new powers to enforce traffic restrictions against HGVs.

Councillor Heffernan added: “The Police are often too overstretched to enforce these regulations. If the Government enacted Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, this would grant Councils the necessary powers to carry out enforcement action.”

Finally, the motion calls on the Council to co-operate with the two Parish Councils, with local residents’ associations and the Police to introduce Lorry Watch schemes in areas of the borough where HGV holdups may happen.

Councillor Heffernan concluded: “Lorry Watch scheme rely on local residents to record vehicles flouting weight and width restrictions and report them. Like Home Watch, this is about empowering local residents to take positive action to help keep their villages and rural areas HGV free. If we all do our bit, we can keep the traffic flowing.”

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