Devon County Council has welcomed the Local Government Association’s (LGA) calls for local authorities to be given powers to tackle lorry drivers that flout height and weight restrictions.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants all lorry drivers who use satnavs to be compelled to use commercial models which enable the driver to enter the lorry's dimensions so they are only guided along suitable roads.
It’s asking the Government to enable councils to take enforcement action where necessary to enforce weight and width restrictions.
In Devon, there have been more than a dozen incidents in the past two years involving HGVs which have ended up on unsuitable roads while using their sat navs. This includes a lorry which shed its load of pig flesh at Lower Marlpits Hill in Honiton, in November last year. And in 2012, a lorry became jammed in New Road in Bickleigh, near Plymouth, for more than 24 hours, and a delivery lorry became wedged on the corner of Cross Street and High Street in Barnstaple.
Devon County Council is also due to install CCTV cameras at Holne New Bridge, near Ashburton, in order to protect the Grade II listed structure, which has been damaged 67 times in the past 18 years.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “I’m pleased that the LGA has raised this issue. We recognise that it goes beyond being a nuisance for communities and significant damage can be caused, not just to buildings and historic structures such as Holne New Bridge, but also degradation over time of the highway itself. This includes increased numbers of potholes, verges being destroyed and damaged footways.
“At this point we’re extremely limited in meaningful action that can be taken against companies given the evidence required to pursue a case and signage often seems to be ignored. We would also welcome companies helping themselves by making it clear to their hauliers the nature of the local highway network and appropriate routes to follow when accessing their sites.”
The Government has handed powers under the Traffic Management Act (2004) to local authorities in Wales, and London (under different legislation), to take action if lorry drivers break the law. The LGA says Councils across the country should be handed the same powers.