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Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee

Chairman's Foreword / Summary

As a result of residents’ concerns communicated to Staffordshire County Council at its Council meeting it was decided to form a working party to take evidence from across the county and to use the case history on the A515 as a basis for this report.

Sustainable distribution covers the overall movement of goods from source to destination. The aim of this report was to identify improvements that could be made to ensure that freight is able to move quickly and efficiently through the county without compromising the natural environment, the economy, or affecting the quality of life for residents where ever possible.

The movement of goods within Staffordshire is primarily by road, with over 1 million vehicle kilometres travelled by HGVs in the county each day. Whilst the trunk road primary route network is designed to cater for high flows of HGVs, access to the final destination via local roads can have major impacts on the environment and across town centres and rural areas. However, the alternatives of rail and water freight are limited, and whilst the rail network is more extensive, these routes already have severe capacity problems from the expanding services.

The findings of the working group demonstrate that the county council’s needs to aim for sustainable distribution therefore concentrate on minimising the impact of road traffic, whilst ensuring that any opportunities that may arise for other freight can be taken up.

It is important to this county council to ensure the majority of freight movements involving HGVs, and especially those travelling through the county use the trunk road primary route network. Primary routes are constructed to the highest standards and usually bypass residential developments and congested urban centres. This, if used, and maintained correctly, does minimise the impact on local residents and can improve the efficiency of such transport as it avoids frequent stops, which does increase fuel consumption and pollution. It is clear that the distribution industry desires the quickest and easiest routes and that in the majority of cases this can be achieved through clear signing of the primary route network and reliable information on traffic conditions.

The county council needs to be more proactive in its recommendations / requirements when advising district planning authorities on the highways implications of development proposals and can use this to implement its freight policies across Staffordshire rather than just stating no objection. In this respect early discussion with developers can facilitate positive change through the location and operation of freight facilities and other businesses that rely heavily on distribution. Advice in this report gives guidance on what areas need to be considered over the immediate and long term impact on any area around any new planning development.

Each Member can identify community concerns and put them forward for inclusion in their Divisional Highways Programme (DHP). All suggestions are prioritised, but a well thought out process during any development application by Highways over current and future requirements for highway transport plans will allow these types of requests to reduce. Each Member has a budget to address local highways issues, but this is very limited and the need for new applications to comply under reserved matters or even to allow approval is paramount if we are to manage the movement of all transport across our county. Requests for weight restrictions are considered through the DHP. It must be pointed out that the funds to fully complete such a project could be covered by only one application by the Member, but if the policies in place were updated, as this report requests, then the Members’ DHP would only be needed for those exceptional situations that arise and are normally safety based local community priorities. The member also has many other highways requests from local residents to consider, so using this avenue does bring its own difficulties. 

I would like to thank all members involved in this working group and all those individuals and bodies that gave detailed evidence for our consideration. Your input and concern was very evident and I believe that the many recommendations in this report and requests for them to be reported back to the committee will allow us to ensure a fair and proactive solution can be found in the majority of cases.

This report recommends that the Cabinet Member considers authorising a number of items of work for prioritisation against existing programmed activities to ensure that many current concerns are addressed. It would be unprofessional for this committee to recommend any future weight restrictions without a response to this report’s findings and a further investigation into each area, as all that will happen is that one problem will become another area’s concern, which is not a satisfactory outcome for current and long term policy. I am sure you will agree that the committee working group needs to guide and recommend how to move forward and to ensure that it is kept informed of changes and actions proposed in Cabinet Member’s response to this report.

County Councillor David Loades
Chairman of Inquiry Days – Working together to address the impact of Heavy Goods Vehicles / HCVs on roads in Staffordshire


Conclusions and recommendations

At the outset the working group set out a number of key objectives:

To better understand the impact that heavy good vehicles have on roads in Staffordshire and the impact they are having on local communities

(A case study example of the impact of heavy goods vehicles use on the A515 was used)

Whilst freight transport and the logistics sector is a major part of the UK and Staffordshire economy, Members were made aware of the impact that the development of this sector and increased freight movement was having on local Staffordshire residents. The significance of freight activity in East Staffordshire Borough and Lichfield District was made clear in the Council’s 2011 Freight Strategy. The A38 is recognised as an integral part of the main transport corridor linking the south and north of the country.

As pointed out by the Road Haulage Association much of HGV traffic has a legitimate right of access to a point of delivery or collection and some of it will be related to business operating in the area. The case study focussed attention of the impact that HGVs were having on those living along or near the A515. In this regard views were expressed that most HGVs were using the A515 as a shortcut to Ashbourne, rather than using the A38 and A50, because of traffic congestion and road closures on the A38.

Members heard that there had been an increased volume of traffic and size of vehicles on roads that had not been designed for vehicles of this size. There was now ‘round the clock’ use of roads by HGVs, leading to more HGVs travelling through villages at night.

The pressure on the haulage industry to deliver ‘round the clock’ has led to increased use of roads and road congestion at certain road junctions, such as Hilliards Cross. Allegedly the use of SatNavs, has led to drivers avoiding travel along congested routes and finding perceived quicker routes to their destinations.

Some specific concerns were expressed as to whether the A515 fulfilled the width requirements of an ‘A’ road. The carriageway of a newly constructed ‘A’ road should be 7.3m but the A515 was reported to be less than 6m in parts with an effective width of only 4m wide at one location. This was causing difficulty of HGVs passing each other at these narrower ‘pinch’ points on the A515.

Members also heard evidence from other Councillors that SatNav companies may be directing lorries through villages.

The impact of this can be summarised as; impact on the health of local residents (quality of life – lack of sleep caused by noise (detailed information was provided by Yoxall resident, Warren Bradley) leading to health problems, such as anxiety and increased risk of cardio vascular disease and inhalation of CO2 emissions, alleged damage to property (cracked walls and ceilings and damage to building contents); road safety concerns (drivers allegedly exceeding speed limits, going through red traffic lights, mounting pavements to pass other vehicles, damage to a pedestrian crossing and wall; pedestrians being sucked towards lorries because of narrow pavements and proximity to lorries; danger to parents and children walking to the local school) and lack of overnight parking for HGVs and anti-social behaviour. Evidence was also received that disability scooter users had difficulty navigating the route. 

To identify potential solutions to reduce the impact that heavy goods vehicles have

A technical study commissioned by the County Councillor for Lichfield Rural West through his district highways fund, from Amey, concluded that a weight restriction should not be considered on the A515. However, the study proposed that if a decision was taken to progress this consideration a number of issues need to be addressed before implementation. The working group agreed that these issues should be addressed. 

The introduction of a weight restriction on the A515

The county council’s Freight Strategy 2011, had been reviewed in 2014, but a number of actions were still outstanding and the action plan lacked detail as to lead responsibility for taking actions and dates of when these should be undertaken. An up-to-date Freight Strategy should address many of the issues raised during the course of this inquiry. Members considered that it would be helpful to refresh this strategy and that the views of local people should be taken into account through a targeted consultation process with the outcomes being an integral part of an updated Freight Strategy.

The technical study, commissioned from Amey, concluded that a weight restriction should not be considered. However, if a decision was taken to progress this consideration a number of issues need to be addressed before implementation:

  • That the number of HGVs affected needs to be determined
       
  • Further investigation should be carried out of the relative performance of the A515 against the A38 is required to determine if the A38 represents a journey of similar convenience and hence whether the A515 can be removed from the primary route network.
       
  • The impact on the A38 and the other surrounding roads of a weight restriction on the A515 needs to be assessed
       
  • A plan to accommodate a temporary suspension of the weight restriction whenever the A515 is being used as the emergency detour route for the A38 would need to be developed. If this is not possible, the A515 would need to be removed from the emergency detour route in consultation with Highways England
       
  • Funding would need to be allocated for the modification or replacement of road signs on the A515 and adjacent roads to reflect the weight restriction and removal of the A515 from the primary network route.
       
  • A clear and funded plan for enforcement, agreed and supported by local Police, would need to be developed. 

The 2011 Freight Strategy highlighted that the majority of parish councils viewed both the enforcement and review of weight restrictions as a priority. 

There was general agreement that the A38 was the most appropriate route for haulage vehicles travelling to and from the North West and North East to business parks along its route.

Local MPs, Andrew Griffiths and Michael Fabricant were unequivocal in their view that a weight restriction on the A515 should be introduced, but the working group received no evidence of them lobbying Parliament to address this or the result if they have done so.

Opinion regarding the request for a weight restriction on the A515 was divided amongst County Councillors representing the residents who live on or near the A515.

In reaching a conclusion as to whether the introduction of a weight restriction along the A515 should be supported Members acknowledged the legal and technical guidance offered to them by county council officers on 20 November, and noted the point made regarding the displacement impact that the introduction of weight restriction on roads could have on other roads in the area.

The process (and cost implications to the county council) of reclassifying a principal road was described. Clearly caution has to be exercised in introducing such a restriction. Members of the working group had difficulty in agreeing a conclusion at this stage, in the absence of more evidence as described in the Amey study, and a Freight Strategy that includes a detailed timed and costed action plan.

Night time ban on the A515

In giving consideration to the introduction of a weight restriction of the A515, Members considered the suggestion made by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, and some Members, of a night-time ban. Members acknowledged the restrictions that would be enforceable when it needed to be used as an emergency diversion route from the A38 and the evidence from Highways England that night time was when most roadworks were undertaken on the A38, but were persuaded that a night time ban could go some way to providing respite from noise and CO2 emissions for local residents and would minimise the impact of loss of trade on local businesses. The snapshot of noise levels evidence provided by Warren Bradley was considered (6.2.7). The working group proposes that this evidence is qualified by the council’s Noise Engineer.

County council officers agreed that the Department of Transport traffic counts gave quite a mixed picture of the volume of HGVs using the A515. Members considered the quantitative and qualitative data (including photographic evidence) submitted. Traffic count information did not differentiate the type of vehicle using the A515 and council officers stated that they would like to do more work to understand the data better.

The information submitted, including details of the impact the traffic was having on local residents, was a cause for concern and Members agreed that prevention of accidents along the route should be a priority.

Members concluded that they would like to understand further the names of companies using their A515, the volume and types of vehicles using the A515 and their origin and destination before making a recommendation regarding a night time ban.

Night time ban on the A515 - Recommendations

  1. That the county council’s Freight Strategy is updated with a detailed action plan and that it is brought back to the select committee for consideration in six month’s time. The committee wishes to emphasize that overnight parking of HGVs in Staffordshire be given thorough reconsideration. 
       
  2. The evidence submitted regarding noise on the A515 is qualified by the council’s Noise Engineer.
       
  3. That Cabinet Member gives priority to undertaking the work described under ‘further considerations’ in the report option review report undertaken by Amey and a report be brought back to the select committee in six month’s time.
       
  4. That the Cabinet Member facilitates discussion with local businesses in the A515 area and feeds back information to the committee regarding the impact that a set route would have in the area if it was enforced.

Routing agreements

For all new developments in Staffordshire plans are submitted to local councils. The county council is a statutory consultee. Members were told that developers are asked to provide a transport assessment and/or transport statement (depending on the size of the development).

Some developments require a routing agreement that details the permitted routing for HGV traffic accessing and leaving the site. Travel plans are set and monitored by the local planning authority (borough / district council). The county council’s highways team is responsible for the road safety assessments undertaken within 12 months of substantial completion of the contracts. However, it is the responsibility of the borough/district council to enforce conditions. The Road Haulage Association stated that representations could be made to the Traffic Commissioner if routing agreements were being breached.

With regard to the Fradley Business Park development planning permission had been given for a different development and no traffic management plan had been put in place for businesses that set up in 1995. Newer businesses have developed routing agreements with the county council. It is important to note that routing agreements cannot be imposed retrospectively on existing developments or operations.

Routing agreements - Recommendations

5. Members asked to see any routing agreements and road safety assessments and details of cases where breaches of planning conditions relevant to developments near the A515 had taken place in the last three years.

6. That local licensing authorities carefully consider HGV operators’ license applications involving property served off the rural network to take into account the impact on the local community.

7. That if breaches of routing agreements take place the local borough / district council is requested to take this matter up with the relevant company and / or the Traffic Commissioner, specifically if the agreements had been subject to an operators’ license.

Traffic calming measures and road safety

A local County Councillor gave details of some of the traffic calming measures that had historically been introduced to minimise the impact of HGVs along the A515. The Road Haulage Association stated firmly that haulage drivers using this route were not breaking the law by doing so, but those that were shown to be speeding or going through red traffic lights should be prosecuted. However, the local Police Commander asked to be made aware of public observations of breaches and agreed to take this concern back to his local policing unit.

Members remained undecided on the value of additional traffic calming measures along the A515. They considered that further evidence of the impact of more traffic lights along this route and additional traffic calming measures such as speed cameras should be obtained before reaching a conclusion. In the meantime they agreed that it would be helpful if the Local Police Commander could share with his local policing unit the views expressed regarding alleged breaches of the law along this route and take action where appropriate.

It was reported that accident data indicates that HGVs are not over-represented in accidents along the A515 (although there have been a number of accidents (not HGV related) at Mitre Crossroads) and that average speed cameras had been installed to influence traffic speed. Members were concerned that there were dangers to pedestrians from HGVs and wished the council to be proactive in accident prevention.

Members remained undecided as to the impact that a further reduction in the speed limits on the A515 would have and were mindful of the problems of enforcement.

An overtaking ban was considered. The provision of solid double white lines is governed by visibility criteria laid down by The Department for Transport (DfT). These state that a system of double white lines should be provided on bends or locations where the forward visibility is 150 metres or less, dependent on vehicle speeds.

In the interests of road safety, Members concluded that consideration could be given to the installation of bollards or railings to prevent lorries mounting the pavement along some parts of the route. They recommended that priority be given to costing and funding these proposed improvements.

Traffic calming measures and road safety - Recommendations  

8. The Local Police Commander is asked to share the views expressed by attendees at the Inquiry Days of alleged speeding and traffic offences along the A515, with his local policing unit and take action where appropriate.

9. That the Cabinet Member investigates the installation of bollards or railings to prevent lorries mounting the pavement along parts of the A515.

10. That Council Officers work with staff and the governing body at Richard Crosse School to consider what road safety measures could be put in place to ensure that parents and children travelling to and from Richard Crosse Primary School do so safely.

Road closures and improvements to the A38

Highways England stated that they had an ongoing study looking at the strategic needs of the A38 (the outcomes of which will be subject to a competitive tendering process), a project reviewing the number of road closures on the A38 and a dedicated project looking at the suitability of diversion routes that is currently bidding for funding.

Highways England stated that they had an ongoing study looking at the strategic needs of the A38 (the outcomes of which will be subject to a competitive tendering process), a project reviewing the number of road closures on the A38 and a dedicated project looking at the suitability of diversion routes that is currently bidding for funding. Members considered that this would be very helpful and proposed that MPs could lobby for this work to be prioritised. Going forward Highways England is reviewing how most priority trunk roads can be improved – a project known as the expressways concept. Members agreed that a traffic management plan should be included as part of the expressways concept.

Road closures and improvements to the A38 - Recommendations

11. That the Cabinet Member on behalf of the county council write to MPs to ask for their support in obtaining funding for road improvements to the A38 and all major HGV priority routes across the county and for the project evaluating the suitability of diversion routes. 

12. Members recommend that the Cabinet Member asks Highways England to ensure that a traffic management plan forms part of the expressways concept. 

The use of satellite navigation systems (SatNavs)

There was a perception amongst some Members that some HGV drivers were using routes not suitable for HGVs as directed by satnavs and that better destination information may alleviate the problem. It was acknowledged that Highways England had limited influence in this area. Highways England agreed to take up the specific case quoted by a local County Councillor in her evidence to the working group. Members agreed that it would be helpful if Highways England could take up a more general conversation with satnav operators on this issue to establish if this is a real or perceptual concern and how it might be rectified due to increasing evidence of HGV drivers using roads that may be unsuitable, but the most direct route on the satnav. Members considered that it would be helpful to have an update on this matter in the revised Freight Strategy.

The use of satellite navigation systems (SatNavs)

13. Highways England to be asked what influence they could bring to bear on the problems caused by the use of satellite navigation systems for route planning in rural areas.

14. The revised Freight Strategy to include an update on the use of satellite navigation systems.

How are Staffordshire's roads and communities likely to be affected in the future?

Increase in housing and business developments

The county council’s Economic Partnerships Manager and Partnership Manager for the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Local Enterprise Partnership described transport as an expanding area of growth with the county council investing in employment sites and manufacturers along main ‘A’ roads in Staffordshire.

In advance of planning developments taking place, each borough/district council develops a local plan that describes future developments within its borough / district council area. Lichfield’s local plan was summarised by Richard King, Director of Democratic, Development and Legal at Lichfield District Council. This plan describes an additional 9,000 dwellings to be built until 2029, 1250 dwellings at Fradley. An application for 7,500 dwellings between Fradley and Barton under Needwood had been received.

There was a shortfall of 37,500 dwellings across the West Midlands region and pressure to accept plans for additional houses in the area.

His view was that the impact would be an increase in HGVs along the A515.

There will also be some impact on HGVs using the A515/A513 as a result of planned mineral extraction in the area.

In the absence of evidence from East Staffordshire Borough Council, you can view their council’s local plan on their website.

The A515 Case Study is considered representative of concerns of local residents across the county and the update of the Freight Strategy must take into account the impact of increases in housing developments across the county.

The Chairman used the example of travel plans received by local planning authorities, for new developments, that have not included comment(s) from the county council’s Highways Team, and wished to raise concerns regarding this matter.

Increase in housing and business developments - recommendation

15. That the Cabinet Member ensures that the county council’s Highways Team provides clear advice to planning authorities in respect of the highways implications and location of developments likely to generate additional freight movements on the highway network and recommends financial contributions for the highways infrastructure by the relevant developers. 

Impact of HS2 traffic 

The proposed routing of the HS2 through Staffordshire will have a significant impact on parts of the county including the southernmost tip of the A515. HS2 traffic would not be affected by a weight restriction on the A515 as it would have right of access through the route. A HS2 construction compound is planned for the end of Wood End Lane and its junction with the A515. This could have a significant impact (estimated to be a 50 per cent increase) on the number of vehicles travelling through Kings Bromley on a daily basis. The council and local residents have petitioned on some of the proposals to minimise disruption on the local community. The select committee receives regular reports on the HS2.

Impact of HS2 traffic - Recommendations

16. That the select committee continues to include HS2 in its work programme and maintains an overview of this development, specifically its impact on the A515.

17. That the Cabinet Member ensures that the views of local people are taken into account as part of all recommendations the county council makes concerning major traffic disruption to residents during and after the HS2 project.

HGV parking

The demand for lorry parking facilities appears to have increased in recent years and the lack of lorry parks is having a reported impact on local residents. The working group acknowledged that it is not in the county council’s remit to develop lorry parks. The working group and other County Councillors were concerned about the impact of inappropriate parking and the lack facilities for drivers on local communities.

HGV parking - Recommendations

18. To ask local borough and district councils to consider the development of lorry parks and enable overnight parking provision in their areas as part of their local plans. Consideration should be given to the creation of designated lorry bays and overnight parking facilities of appropriate size, with clear signage.

To identify a way forward and to make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport

In conclusion the working group was concerned about the unintended consequence that the pursuit of economic objectives was having on the quality of life and health and safety of Staffordshire residents.

The lack of lorry parks and facilities for HGV drivers is a problem not confined to Staffordshire but clearly has an impact on local residents.

Members welcomed the offer made by Highways England, who stated that they have limited influence over drivers using the A515, but considered that there may be some possibilities for improvements along the route and would suggest that the county council takes up this offer. In particular mention was made of improvements to the A515 at Fradley south and Hilliards Cross. Such improvements would encourage road hauliers to travel onto the A38 rather than head for the A513 and A515.

This prompted a wider discussion regarding the usefulness, as illustrated by the inquiry days, of a more regular meeting between Highways England, the Road Haulage Association, Staffordshire’s Chamber of Commerce Transport Forum and Council Members and officers. The working group would ask that the Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport gives this matter consideration.

Recommendations

19. That the Cabinet Member undertakes a review of lorry parks and facilities for HGV drivers in the county.

20. The county council takes up the offer of discussions with Highways England regarding possible improvements along the A515.

21. A number of issues were raised by County Councillors relating to problems in their areas. It is recommended that the Community Infrastructure Managers take up discussions with the relevant County Councillor to address these matters.

22. That the Cabinet Member initiates a forum for regular discussion with Council officers and representatives from Highways England, Road Haulage Association, Staffordshire’s Chamber of Commerce Transport Forum in order to develop an understanding of county wide distribution issues and promote constructive solutions which reconcile the need of access for goods and services with local, environment and social concerns.

23. That the Cabinet Member lobbies Staffordshire MPs to act on the issue of the impact that heavy goods vehicles are having on roads and communities in Staffordshire.

A summary of the recommendations is given in Appendix 2. 

A weight restriction at Wood End Lane

Members discussed the idea of placing a weight restriction at Wood End Lane. However, any proposal to put a weight restriction on Wood End Lane would require full consultation with HS2 with regard to the potential impact on the routing of construction traffic. Members wished to investigate this further before reaching a conclusion.

A weight restriction at Wood End Lane - Recommendations

24. That the Cabinet Member reports back to the committee on the outcome of consideration of placing a weight restriction on Wood End Lane, taking account developments in regard to HS2.


Setting the scene

  • At its meeting on 24 July 2015 the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee agreed to undertake a scrutiny review to investigate the impact of heavy goods vehicles on roads in Staffordshire as part of their 2015-16 work programme. A select committee is not a decision making body, but it can undertake a review and make recommendations to the cabinet who can make decisions on behalf of the council.
       
  • An important part of this review was to understand the impact that HGV’s have on local communities and our local economy. To take this forward, the select committee was asked to consider and agree the terms of reference and arrangements for the review, as proposed in this report.
       
  • The identification of this topic for review by the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee was prompted by the receipt in full council in May 2015 of two petitions from residents in Yoxall and Kings Bromley demanding a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes on the A515 and auxiliary roads between Stubby Lane, Draycott in the Clay through Yoxall and Kings Bromley to Wood End Lane. The matter was referred by council to the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee, as the relevant scrutiny committee of the council, to consider further.

Scope of the work / terms of reference

Following discussion at the committee meeting on 24 July it was agreed to broaden the scope of the review to consider the impact of heavy goods vehicles on roads in Staffordshire. Members stated that the problems recorded in regard to the A515 were being experienced on other roads in the county and asked that the scope be broadened out to include all roads in Staffordshire.

Intended outcome

  • To better understand the impact that heavy goods vehicles have on roads in Staffordshire and the impact that they are having on local communities.
       
  • To identify potential solutions to reduce the impact that heavy goods vehicles have
       
  • To understand the impact of any future developments
       
  • To identify a way forward and to make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport.

Key objectives

  • To understand better the current problems caused by the impact of heavy goods vehicles on roads (and communities) in Staffordshire; (A case study example of the impact of heavy goods vehicles use on the A515 was used)
       
  • To consider what potential solutions might be considered to reduce the impact on local communities; (A review undertaken by Amey on behalf of the County Councillor for Lichfield - Lichfield Rural West was considered);
       
  • To consider how Staffordshire roads (and communities) are likely to be affected in the future.
       
  • To identify a way forward including potential solutions and to report findings to the Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport.

Membership

The following Members agreed to participate:

  • David Loades - Newcastle Rural (Newcastle)
       
  • Len Bloomer – Stafford Trent Valley (Stafford Borough)
       
  • Geoff Martin – Etchinghill and Heath (Cannock Chase)
       
  • Carol Dean (Bolebridge, Tamworth)
       
  • Simon Tagg (Westlands and Thistleberry, Newcastle)

It was agreed to invite County Councillors Tim Corbett (Needwood Forest) and Martyn Tittley (Lichfield Rural West) as they represented the divisions that had petitioned about heavy good vehicles on the A515.

It was agreed that the following organisations may wish to give evidence, in person, or in writing:

  • All County Councillors
       
  • Local residents
       
  • Yoxall, Kings Bromley, Draycott in the Clay and Longdon Parish Councils;
       
  • Local authorities in the area;
        
  • Road haulier and freight representatives;
       
  • Local businesses; 
       
  • Local schools/community groups;
       
  • Staffordshire County Council Highways Team (including the Council’s Traffic Manager);
       
  • Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue;
       
  • Highways England;

Methods of investigation

The committee agreed that the approach to be taken would be to invite key witnesses to give evidence either in person or in writing to a small group of members over two inquiry days. Two inquiry days were held on 20 October and 10 November 2015. The meetings were held in public and they were webcast. An email was sent to all County Councillors asking them for their views on the impact of HGVs on roads in the areas they represent. In addition the Chairman undertook some desk based research.


Findings

Evidence received from Staffordshire County Councillors

In advance of the inquiry day on 20 October an email was sent to all Staffordshire County Councillors requesting any information that they had on how HGVs were affecting their local communities. The evidence received is attached as Appendix 1 to this report.

Inquiry day 1 - 20 October 2015

Option review - A515 weight restriction, Wood End Lane to B5017

Councillor Martyn Tittley is the County Councillor elected to serve Lichfield Rural West. This area includes Kings Bromley and Longdon. In response to concerns raised by local residents Councillor Tittley commissioned an independent option review of a potential weight restriction on a section of the A515 between the junction of Wood End Lane and the B5017 at Stubby Lane. Further details of the concerns are given later in this report.

The request for an independent (technical) review was funded by Councillor Tittley from his District Highway Fund (at the time of writing a sum of £10,000 that is allocated annually by the County Council to each County Councillor to use to address highways issues in their division).

This study was undertaken by Amey on behalf of Staffordshire County Council and was completed in May 2015.

In summary, it is stated that: 

  • The A515 is correctly classified as an A road and as part of the principal road network.
       
  • The percentage of HCVs (Heavy Commercial Vehicles) in A515 traffic ranges from 7.4% to 11.3% which is acceptable for an A road.
       
  • HCVs are not over-represented in accidents for the latest 5 year period of accident available data.
       
  • The implementation of a weight restriction would need to be with access exemptions. 
       
  • The number of HCVs affected by a weight restriction is not known without further survey work. 
       
  • The A515 would need to be removed from the Principal Route Network (PRN) for a weight restriction to be implemented due to an EU requirement.
       
  • The A515 is part of an Emergency Diversion Route (EDR) for the A38 and there is a conflict between this role and a weight restriction.
       
  • A weight restriction would be difficult to enforce and without enforcement the restriction is unlikely to be effective.

The report concluded that a weight limit should not be considered. However, should the decision be taken to progress with the establishment of a weight restriction on the A515, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before implementation. These were:

  • That the number of HCVs affected needs to be determined
       
  • Further investigation should be carried out of the relative performance of the A515 against the A38 to determine if the A38 represents a journey of similar convenience and hence whether the A515 can be removed from the PRN
       
  • The impacts on the A38 and the other surrounding roads of a weight restriction on the A515 need to be assessed 
       
  • A plan to accommodate a temporary suspension of the weight restriction whenever the A515 is being used as the EDR for the A38 would need to be developed. If this is not possible, the A515 would need to be removed from the EDR in consultation with Highways England
       
  • Funding would need to be allocated for the modification or replacement of road signs on the A515 and adjacent roads to reflect the weight restriction and removal of the A515 from the PRN 
       
  • A clear and funded plan for enforcement, agreed and supported by local police, would need to be developed.

Evidence received from parish councils

In order to better understand the current problems caused by the impact of heavy goods vehicles on roads (and communities) in Staffordshire the working group invited the views of local parish councils (Kings Bromley, Draycott in the Clay, Yoxall and Longdon) and Yoxall Action Group to attend and give evidence to the committee. (Longdon Parish Council declined to give evidence). The evidence received is summarised below:

Kings Bromley Parish Council - Councillor Steve Browne:

  • Since 2011, vehicles travelling through Kings Bromley had increased in size, volume and weight.
       
  • In 2014 Parishioners asked the Parish Council to do something about this and an action group was formed with Yoxall and Draycott in the Clay Parish Councils. 
       
  • In 1985 the A513 was straightened out and widened which enabled lorries to travel through quicker and faster.
      
  • In 2001 build outs were added to slow the traffic down, however at night vehicles went between them.
      
  • In 2009 a pedestrian crossing was installed so that children on the west of the village could cross over safely but this had been knocked down twice in two years by HG/CVs.
       
  • Over 900 signatures were received on a petition demanding a seven and half tonne weight restriction on the A515 and auxiliary roads between Wood End Lane, Kings Bromley and Stubby Lane, Draycott in the Clay. Kings Bromley consisted of approximately five hundred residences. Everyone supported the petition because, property and health was suffering and people’s safety was in danger. 
       
  • Grade 2 listed buildings were not designed to cope with the current lorry loads, lengths, vibration and noise. Properties were suffering cracked walls and ceilings.
       
  • People had to sleep with their windows shut due to the noise, vibration and fumes of passing HG/CVs. 
       
  • The T-Junction with the A515 and A513 was at the centre of Kings Bromley.
       
  • The T-Junction had been in place since 1922. It was designed when the current lorry was not anticipated. Lorries had to cross and mount the footpath and swing into the other half of the road to negotiate the bend.
       
  • In a twenty four hour period sixteen fully blocked out junctions, where lorries met one another and no one could move, were recorded.
       
  • There is a school in the village with one hundred and thirty pupils. Parents were concerned about the safety of children.
       
  • The pedestrian crossing had been knocked down and people had had to risk their lives to get across the road. It was knocked down at 4pm in the afternoon and at 5pm the school had reported this to highways. At 6am the following morning the situation was reported to the police via 101 and it was requested that a Police Officer attend to support people to cross the road. This had not however happened. Highways fixed the crossing within a forty eight hour period.
       
  • Pedestrians on the east side of the village had to walk down the road and cross the A513 to get to the school. This was dangerous as there was no crossing. Kings Bromley was an old village with narrow footpaths. Lorries coming past at 30mph caused back draft which sucked people towards the lorry. A case was referred to whereby a lorry had been travelling so close to a pedestrian it had caught her handbag.
       
  • Lorries passed through the village at speed and some drivers did not take note of the red lights.
       
  • A count was undertaken over a twenty four hour period. Ford transits, buses, farm vehicles and waste refuge trucks were excluded. The count did not take place on Mondays which were light days for vehicles and Fridays which was a heavy day. The count was undertaken over a two week period at different timeslots. 931 vehicles over seven and a half tonne travelled through the village in a twenty four hour period. 64 vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonne travelled through between 8am and 9am when children were being taken to school. 51 vehicles travelled through as children finished school between 3pm and 4pm. The busiest time for vehicles over 7.5 tonne travelling through the village was between 4am and 7am. The count was undertaken in three separate directions, these being Lichfield to Yoxall, Alrewas to Yoxall and Lichfield to Alrewas.
       
  • Lorries caused severe damage to buildings. An example was provided whereby the residents had to remove ornaments off the mantelpiece to prevent them falling off due to the vibration of passing vehicles. People were concerned about their properties.
       
  • Ninety-one per cent of vehicles were articulated lorries and therefore had no choice but to mount the pavement and swing over to the other side of the road.
       
  • Lorries were travelling through Yoxall and negotiating the T-Junction to get to the Fradley Industrial Park. They were also taking this route at night when they left the park to join the A38 in Alrewas.
       
  • Drivers had reported that they could not get up to speed to get on the A38 at Hilliards Cross and it was suggested that this feeder road should be lengthened.
       
  • Alternative routes were available. If Hilliards Cross was improved lorries could get on the A38. Lorries coming out of the Fradley Industrial Park that continued to go up Wood End Lane would have to turn left and go down to the A51 to get to the North West.
       
  • The A515 was considered shorter and more fuel efficient by lorry drivers, however from Fradley Industrial Estate along the A515 there were twenty three gear changes and eighteen obstacles. Travelling along the A50, was nine miles longer, but took only four mins extra to complete and a consistent speed of 50mph could be maintained.
       
  • A professional driver had undertaken a risk assessment and agreed that the better and less risky route to use was the A50 and A38 which avoided Kings Bromley, Yoxall and Draycott in the Clay.

Alan Howard, Kings Bromley Parish Council, described the unanimity of the Parish and strength of feeling about the issue. People felt that the county council would not do anything about the situation.

Yoxall Action Group - David Harrison

  • The group had formed eight years ago and had supported the Kings Bromley petition.
       
  • There was a disconnect between the people of Kings Bromley and Yoxall, and the county council.
       
  • The anger of local people had resulted in the petition.
       
  • It was accepted by all that the road was no longer fit for purpose.
       
  • HG/CV operators were putting profit before safety because the A515 was a quicker and shorter route, however the A50 and A38 were better designed to take HG/CVs.
       
  • The existing roads were compared to the current criteria. The carriageway width should be a minimum of 7.3m but was less than 6m wide throughout the village and at certain points was just 5.25m. HG/CVs were 2.55m wide so it was obvious that two vehicles could not pass one another at the same time.
       
  • Stress points occur at double bends in the village. At these points the effective width of the carriageway is 4m so it is impossible for two lorries to pass one another and they have to mount the pavement and go onto the other side of the road to get round the bends.
       
  • There are ‘S’ bends next to the school which is also a blind spot.
       
  • In May there were three near misses at the same point in the village. In one instance a mother had had to throw her children over a wall and in another a local resident had had to jump over the wall. There had been a major collision and the church wall had been damaged as a vehicle had mounted the pavement and gone into the wall.
       
  • The only position in the village where there was a crossing was on a double blind bend where lorries mounted the curb and it was impossible for lorries to go round on the right side of the road.
       
  • At one point the carriageway is less than 6m wide and the footpath is 400mm wide. People using mobility scooters cannot navigate from one end of the village to the other.
       
  • A Department of Transport publication issued by the Health & Safety Executive entitled ‘Driving at work managing work related road asks ‘Do you plan routes thoroughly; could you use safer routes which are more appropriate for the type of vehicle doing the journey?’. It stated that; ‘…although minor roads are fine for cars they are less safe and cause difficulties for larger vehicles.’

Draycott in the Clay Parish Council - Councillor Mark Flavell

  • There was support for the proposed weight restriction and Draycott in the Clay had also gathered signatures. (A petition of 55 signatures was received in November 2015, after the Inquiry Days).
       
  • Up to 1,000 HG/CVs were travelling through Yoxall and Kings Bromley each day. However, the Department of Transport had suggested that 60 per cent more vehicles would be going through Draycott in the Clay than in Yoxall and in Kings Bromley
       
  • The proposed weight restriction would not remove all HG/CV traffic from the village, but would remove the vast majority.
       
  • The negative impact of HG/CVs was significant. They caused a nuisance and danger, particularly to cyclists and pedestrians.
       
  • Footpaths were very narrow and pedestrians would get the back draft from HG/CVs passing by.
       
  • A well used play park was situated in the village and children from the neighbouring village also cycled to it.
       
  • Fifteen noise readings were taken outside a house in the middle of Draycott in the Clay, just by A515, when HG/CVs passed by. All readings were above 85 decibels and in some cases above 90 decibels. For an exposure limit above 85 decibels it was suggested that people wear hearing protection.
       
  • It was a 24 hour problem with the peak time for HG/CVs passing through the village between 12 and 1am and 5am and 7am.
       
  • The World Health Organisation stated that noise inside should not be above 30 decibels but it is well above this at night time.
       
  • Traffic goes through the village at least 40mph rather than 30mph as in the other villages.
       
  • Most houses were on the opposite side of the A515 to the school but there was no pedestrian/zebra/pelican crossing. The lollipop crossing could not be replaced as it was too dangerous.
       
  • Vibration was a significant issue. Homes shook, pictures wobbled, and ornaments fell as vehicles went past.
       
  • The issue was getting worse with, increased HG/CV movement at night.
       
  • Conditions of the carriageway were described by Staffordshire County Council as a patchwork which increased vibration and noise.
       
  • There was damage to health as a result of sleep disturbance and anxiety which increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. There were serious effects to the health and wellbeing of adults and children.
       
  • Carriageway resurfacing, reducing the speed limit to 30mph and consideration of a night time ban was suggested.
      
  • The Amey report was not a reason to reject the weight restriction proposal. There had been no mention of the impact on people and evidence had been taken from google maps regarding travel time which was incorrect. It was unclear why it was operationally difficult to enforce a weight limit or temporarily disband it when required.
      
  • Staffordshire County Council’s mission statement included helping people to be healthy and happy and it was suggested that weight restrictions and other suggestions to ease the problem should therefore be supported.

Yoxall Parish Council - Councillor Robert Keys

Councillor Robert Keys stated that his views reflected those previously presented. He suggested the working group should consider: 

  • Why drivers were taking the A515 and where they were going to. 
       
  • Why drivers were not getting on the A38 at Hilliards Cross

Mr Warren Bradley

Mr Warren Bradley later submitted the following evidence concerning noise levels suffered by residents on the main street that runs through Yoxall. While only a ‘snapshot’, it does reflect widespread concerns expressed by the many frontage residents, and also those of residents in Draycott from whom the committee has already heard.

World Health Organisation Noise Guidelines greatly exceeded Main Street, Yoxall survey result

Background of Mr Bradley's survey

The A515 running through Yoxall is relatively narrow in places and built up on either side with residential property close to the road. It is claimed by residents (of which I am one) that the use of this road by heavy goods vehicles is extensive and in the main unnecessary.

Other reports regarding the use of this road by HGVs have indicated evidence which demonstrates safety issues and the relatively low (if not no) benefit to the time and economy of HGVs using the A515 against the A38 route to Fradley Distribution Park, off the A50.

This report focuses on the noise impact on those living on A515 in Yoxall which can be extraordinarily high day and night. In order to demonstrate this impact, I carried out my own study and have taken a ‘snapshot’ during the night. The timing has two benefits for the study. 1) The car traffic is lighter and thus creates less ‘blur’ when calculating HGV numbers and noise produced from HGVs and 2) it demonstrates a cause of significant impact on sleep of residents living on that stretch of road.

To evaluate the validity of this, noise measurements have been made to establish whether traffic noise levels are in excess of guideline noise criteria for sleep disturbance.

Mr Bradley's Survey - noise assessment

Noise measurements were taken inside my home at Three Houses, Main St, Yoxall, Staffordshire over the night-time period 26 -27 November 2015, using a Class 1 Bruel and Kjaer sound level meter. The meter was calibrated before and after measurement, with no significant drift observed. The noise measurements were undertaken in an upstairs bedroom with windows closed.

Mr Bradley's survery - discussion

The analysis and commentary provided below is in relation to noise levels between 2-3 a.m. This period is typical of the noise climate found inside the property between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. that night.

In this time approx. 28 vehicles passed the property, 15 of which resulted in internal maximum noise levels in excess of 60 dB(A) indoors with bedroom windows closed, with the remaining over 50 dB(A). The frequency content of noise from the passing vehicles consisted of a significant low frequency element, with low engine revs and slow acceleration, indicative of high proportion (> 50%) of larger HGV type commercial vehicles.

During a two minute period, approximately 2.46 - 2.48am, five such HGV vehicle movements took place.

The full dataset can be provided.

Conclusion of Mr Bradley's survey

It is widely recognised that to avoid sleep disturbance, indoor guideline values for bedrooms of more than 45 dB LAMAX should not be exceeded more than 10-15 times a night. Clearly these levels are greatly exceeded and on an hourly basis. This monitoring exercise supports the residents (my) claim that traffic noise is having a significant impact on quality of life and in many cases sleep.

When interpreting the results in terms of decibels, it is important to look at the difference between 45 and 60 dB when considering exceedances of criteria. The decibel scale is logarithmic. A difference in sound level of 10 decibels equates to a doubling of perceived loudness and 3 decibels a doubling of acoustic power.

Whilst this data only considers a brief snapshot of the noise climate in the area, in my opinion it is representative of a typical night’s vehicle movement along the A515 in Yoxall.

If the excessive noise is to be dealt with i.e. reduce maximum noise levels to below the 45dB(A) criteria, one of two things would have to happen. 1) Significant structural alterations would be required or 2) a routing solution for the HGVs would need to be found, vastly reducing the occasions the criteria is breached. I am not an acoustics expert or an Environmental Health Officer, but my job in the police force is to collate, interpret and ‘gate keep’ evidence from front line officers to the Crown Prosecution Service for criminal prosecutions. My report is based on accurate evidence and advice from associates within the Environmental Health Dept. I therefore envisage that this assessment is of a suitable quality to be used as a basis to encourage further discussion of a wider problem.

Evidence received from local schools - Paul Lovern, Headteacher, Richard Crosse Primary School

Mr Lovern expressed concern for the safety of children walking to and from school. The school encouraged children to walk to school and to walk to school independently in later years. However parents were reluctant for them to do so due to safety reasons. Parents’ increased use of cars to transport their children to and from schools had created a parking issue. The school was Grade 2 listed and the playing fields were adjacent to the A515 subjecting children to traffic pollution. A weight restriction would ensure people in the village had a safer experience.

Evidence from local borough / district councils

Returning to the case study of the A515, the committee wrote to Lichfield District and East Staffordshire Borough Councils to ask for their views. Richard King, Director of Democratic, Development and Legal attended the Inquiry Day on 20 October and gave evidence as to how Staffordshire roads (and communities) are likely to be affected in the future. Mr King referred to:-

  • The district council’s adopted local plan which provided for an additional 9,000 dwellings up until 2029 and increased employment
       
  • Across the West Midlands region there was a shortfall of 37,500 dwellings. There were 1250 dwellings at Fradley and increased employment opportunities.
       
  • The Brook Acre consortium had submitted a plan for 7,500 additional dwellings between Fradley and Barton under Needwood and increased employment opportunities, including in the distribution industry. This had not received approval from the district council however, Mr. King stated that the pressures were there (to accept the plans) and the numbers of HGVs along the route would only increase.
       
  • Other local plans that had been submitted to the council raised concerns regarding HGVs.
       
  • Referring to the request for a weight restriction on the A515 Mr. King’s view was that this would potentially move the problem of HGVs elsewhere.

East Staffordshire Borough Council did not give evidence to the inquiry.

Evidence received from Inspector Robert Neeson, Staffordshire Police

  • From a policing perspective, problem areas had to be considered
      
  • Narrow roads were an issue and there was a need to look at this
    Enforcement of a weight restriction would not be possible 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
       
  • There were rarely accidents on the A515. The main area of concern (in regard to road accidents) was the Mitre crossroads.
       
  • Average speed cameras had been effective in reducing speed from Yoxall to Draycott in the Clay.
       
  • Other areas such as Barton under Needwood and Fradley had similar problems
       
  • All schools had problems between 7.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. (school drop off time) and at the end of the school day.
       
  • Due to budget constraints there were less Police Officers, but if there was a need for additional policing in the area this would be considered. Staffordshire Police wanted to keep people safe and reassured and local Police Officers and Community Support Officers should be aware of local concerns. Inspector Neeson would share the concerns of the committee with colleagues

Evidence received from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue - Station Manager Toby Wilson on behalf of Tim Hyde, Service Delivery Lead:

  • Mr. Wilson stated that the Fire and Rescue Service had “making Staffordshire the safest place to be” as a core objective. Supporting employment and prosperity was important as deprivation contributed to vulnerability.
       
  • The data regarding road traffic accidents along the A515 indicated that the HGV use is not causing a disproportionate level of risk when compared with similar roads in the county.
       
  • The Mitre Crossroads is a known ‘hotspot’ for accidents. Data suggests that the characteristics of the junction, rather than the type of vehicle involved, that were the biggest single factor in the incidence of road traffic collisions at this location
       
  • Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would not support a weight restriction on the A515 on grounds of community safety.
       
  • The additional traffic on the A515 at night is likely to be as a result of the ‘round the clock’ business at Fradley Business Park and some businesses are busier at night. 
       
  • Coincidentally the night time hours are also when the A38/ A50 (the alternative to using the A515) are relatively less busy and so using these as an alternative route for LGV’s at night is less likely to be disrupted by traffic.
       
  • Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service suggested a part-time ban from 7 p.m. to 7.a.m. on HGVs using the A515.

Evidence received from Members of Parliament

Andrew Griffiths MP

A letter dated 12 November, 2015 was received from Andrew Griffiths, MP supporting the introduction of a weight restriction on the A515. Mr. Griffiths understood that there was a need for local business to be able to transport their goods around, but considered that we needed to plan more strategically the routes that are most suitable to do this in order to alleviate the nuisance to the residents along the A515 and also on other linked routes like Forest Road (Burton upon Trent). Mr. Griffiths acknowledged that Burton is well positioned as a logistical hub and welcomed the investment that this industry brings to the town. However, with further growth in that sector expected, Mr. Griffiths stated that it was important that we consider the impact on local residents and that we should make sure that HGVs are using the most appropriate routes.

Michael Fabricant MP

A letter dated 18 November, 2015 was received from Michael Fabricant MP supporting the imposition of a weight limit on the A515 from Wood End Lane, Kings Bromley via Yoxall to Stubby Lane, Draycott in the Clay. Mr. Fabricant accepted that there should be exceptions for emergency vehicles, deliveries and when there are major roadworks on trunk roads.

Other evidence received

Local business - received by email 24 October 2015

We own a PO and village store in Draycott-in-the-Clay and like all businesses on or near the road have a high level of custom from lorry drivers. Indeed there is cafe just up the A515 from us which solely caters for HGVs and therefore would suffer enormously.

Like other business people on the A515 we bought our business because it was on an A road and had a high level of traffic. It's vital to us and I'm not sure the residents around here also understand that the custom of HGV drivers keeps their community Post Office alive - as well as providing jobs for villagers.

Quiet roads tend to have few shops along them - do the residents who have signed the petitions understand this?

When the road is closed (i.e. for your Iron Man event) or there are roadworks our business suffers greatly. Any restrictions would have the same impact.

Also all of our goods are brought in by the kind of lorries that the petitions would ban.

We would support any moves that enforced speed restrictions as there is no excuse for speeding but before you impose restrictions on lorries rather than taking the views of residents who just want a bit less noise would you please consider the impact on businesses?

Inquiry Day 2 - 10 November 2015

The focus of evidence on day 2 was on the receipt of evidence from county council officers. Members of the working group were keen to understand planned economic developments in the area and to understand the impact that these may have on Staffordshire roads.

Peter Davenport, Economic Partnerships Manager and Partnership Manager for the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Local Enterprise Partnership

The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Economic Plan was prepared in 2014 and provides a long term vision through to 2030. The Plan is used to draw down investment funding. The objectives of the SEP are:

  • Stoke on Trent as a Core UK City.
       
  • Staffordshire as a Connected County - the aim is “super connectivity”, maximising the benefit of existing road, rail and air connections and future strategic infrastructure investments, including HS2. 
       
  • Competitive urban centres - the future prosperity of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire economy will also be dependent on growth in Stoke-on-Trent and the chain of strategic centres in Stafford, Burton, Cannock, Lichfield, Tamworth and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Business and housing growth in and around these centres will underpin our economic progress.
       
  • Sector Growth - ensuring globally competitive innovation, investment and enterprise–led expansion in large & small businesses across our priority sectors. We have to take advantage of sectors where we have the most strength. 
       
  • Skilled workforce - to develop a modern and flexible skills system which enables all people to up-skill and re-skill to meet the needs of our growth sectors, particularly important in manufacturing industries. Staffordshire has strength in this area.

The strategy is built around a series of key sectors which are expected to drive growth in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. These include: Five Advanced Manufacturing sectors: Applied Materials, Agri-tech, Aero-Auto, Medical Technology and Energy Generation

There are two further ‘Barometer’ sectors, which help to benchmark progress towards a more mature local economy: Business and Professional Services, and Tourism and Leisure (e.g. Alton Towers, in spite of recent redundancy announcements).

Applied materials e.g. ceramics; Agri-tech e.g. JCB, important in spite of recent announcements regarding job losses; Medical technologies e.g. Keele Science Park; Energy generation (Stoke and Staffs – GEC based, GEE ABB still very big business internationally); Aero-auto.

Lots of businesses supplying automotive supply chains supplying components across the UK e.g. i54. Fradley – company on the Business Park that is a big manufacturer of electrical components; Business and Professional services - largely in town centres not as strong a presence as we would like; Tourism – a strong sector – particularly, Alton Towers (in spite of the announcement of recent redundancies) has been strong in this area.

Health is the biggest employer in Staffordshire. Transport including storage is the fifth biggest employer accounting for 25,000 jobs and an expanding area of growth.

All allocated employment sites and manufacturers are situation along main ‘A’ roads in Staffordshire. The county council has been investing in sites along these routes.

The Working Group then heard evidence from a series of county council officers who explained their roles in regard to the topic under discussion.

David Walters, Regulation and Governance Manager

The role of the traffic manager, including network classification and traffic regulation. 

The best use of the road network is important for economic vitality and society in general The primary purpose of a road remains facilitating movement. The local road network is a finite resource with legitimate and competing pressures from road users.

Reliable journey times are important to road users. This has to be balanced against the needs of the local transport authorities and utilities and communities in order to maintain and upgrade the network. The council has a range of duties and powers as the Highway Authority. These are set out in The Highways Act 1980; The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991; the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984; the Traffic Management Act 2004 and the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Network Management and the Traffic Management Act 2004

Traffic Management Act 2004 (Section 16) places a duty on the local authority to manage their road network to enable traffic to move freely and quickly on their roads and roads of nearby local authorities and the strategic network, such as that managed by Highways England (HE). The responsibility for ensuring this duty is met is that of the Traffic Manager (David Walters). This is a statutory post.

Physical and classification changes to the network and the impact on the network of neighbouring authorities is the responsibility of the Traffic Manager.

Road classification and the Primary Route Network (PRN)

The PRN designates roads between places of traffic importance across the UK with the aim of providing easily identifiable routes to access the whole of the country.

A series of locations, designated as primary destinations, are identified by the Department of Transport (DfT), which are then linked by roads. From January 2012 local highway authorities have the responsibility for management of the road classification system (with central government approval). 

DfT guidance states that the PRN must provide unrestricted access to 40 tonne vehicles. The implementation of a weight restriction would require reclassification to remove its primary route status. A significant change to the PRN would require the Highways Authority to consult with other highways authorities. Where a change has an impact on the strategic road network, the highways authority must consult with Highways England.

Agreement of all affected authorities must be obtained before a change to the PRN can be made. The Secretary of State (SoS) for Transport retains ultimate power over the PRN. The removal of a section of the road from the PRN would require replacement and modification of signage along the local authority network, Highways England network and adjoining local authority network. The cost of this would be the responsibility of the authority initiating the reclassification.

Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO)

Placing a weight restriction order on a road is done by a TRO (made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984). The SoS for Transport is responsible for authorising TROs on motorway and trunk roads. For authorities outside London the county council are the relevant authority. The SoS has the power to lay down the procedure to be followed in making orders (Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. The procedure to make a permanent order requires the authority to consult with organisations and road users.

The Regulations specify the publicity and consultation procedure that must be followed. Whilst consultation with some organisations is only required if the proposed order has an impact on them, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) must be consulted on all occasions. The relevant Chief Constable must be consulted before making an order for certain purposes, including prohibiting commercial vehicles from using a particular road. The authority does not have to accept the advice from the police, but the order could be ignored by motorists if not enforced by the police.

Anyone may object to an order within 21 days of the notice being given. A public enquiry only has to be held if the order affects loading, unloading at certain times of the day or bus services. Whilst the highways authority can make TROs without SoS consent or public enquiry, failure to follow proper procedure could result in a High Court challenge.

Enforcement of TROs

The responsibility for enforcement of a TRO varies depending on the type of Order. The enforcement of a weight limit generally remains the responsibility of the Police. Trading standards and planning services officers may carry out enforcement work.

Enforcement can be time consuming and expensive and requires evidence that access to premises along the route is not required. It was proposed that implementing a width restriction supported by physical measures is easier, but would restrict HGVs with a legitimate need for access.

Parking has been decriminalised and is carried out by highway authorities (Traffic Management Act 2004).

The responsibility for enforcement of moving traffic offences is the responsibility of the SoS (this includes the enforcement of weight restrictions).

Emergency Diversion routes (EDR)

County councils have the responsibility to reduce, control or mitigate the effects of an emergency (Civil Contingencies Act 2004). This could include closure of part of the strategic road network. The council also has a duty of care to the public stranded in traffic congestion.

EDRs help Highways England and local authorities manage traffic after closure of the strategic network via pre-planned, checked and agreed junction to junction diversion routes. Before introducing an EDR the route is investigated for suitability identifying traffic ‘pinch points’. A PRN would generally be considered a suitable EDR. Staffordshire County Council and Highways England are reviewing EDRs in the county including those associated with the A38.

Clive Thomson, Commissioner for Highways and the Built County - Staffordshire County Council’s Freight Strategy

As part of Staffordshire Local Transport Plan, Staffordshire County Council published a Freight Strategy in April 2011 following consultation with parish councils, freight operators and HGV drivers. The strategy was reviewed in 2014. All 20 actions and priorities in the strategy were reviewed against criteria.

A number of actions were outstanding, but the review did not detail who should undertake the actions. Some actions were dependent on partnerships with others.The Strategy should be refreshed. Officers would welcome a steer from the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee.

Recommendation: That priority is given to reviewing the Freight Strategy including a detailed action plan.

Nick Dawson, Connectivity Transport Manager - Integrated Transport Strategy including developments

Each borough / district council area has a (local) district transport strategy (DITS), published on our website. These strategies form part of Staffordshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan 3 and are refreshed regularly.

DITS help the Council prioritise expenditure in the districts, and secure contributions and funding e.g. from developers, and influence strategic investment from the rail industry and Highways England. In this latter regard reference is made to strategies produced by the road and rail industry. DITS also provide advice to local planning authorities on the impact of local developments on transport. Countywide the council’s available funding for integrated transport schemes has fallen to £3m per year (half of what it was) as the government has diverted money into local growth deals. The DITS are informed by quantitative data gathered nationally and locally and include signage, speed safety issues and strategic maintenance issues, but mainly focus on land use planning and development.

In regard to HGVs and traffic Staffordshire County Council generally encourage maximum use of rail freight. The strategies for Lichfield District and East Staffordshire Borough support the development of bypasses e.g. Lichfield Southern bypass and in neighbouring local authority areas e.g. Walton bypass in Derbyshire. Staffordshire County Council supports a number of targeted road improvements on the A38 and A5. The strategies also include mitigation improvements flowing from development proposals e.g. weight restrictions, signing, speeding and safety reviews.

In Lichfield District the Council support the provision of a lorry park at Fradley. Members were shown a slide on Fradley. The junctions at Fradley south and Hilliards Cross are considered inadequate in terms of slip lengths and general arrangements. The slide showed an improvement to Wood End Lane. Staffordshire County Council is lobbying Highways England for investment to improve both the Fradley junctions in Wood End Lane. Improvements may result from HS2 investment monies.

Engagement of the public is achieved through the Divisional Highways Teams who submit requests for improvements. Members raised concerns regarding how the Community Infrastructure team responded to public feedback regarding problems that had occurred post development. In regard to the impact of the Fradley development, planning permission was granted in 1995 for a different development. This has developed beyond expectations. There was no traffic management plan for the area. Newer businesses on the development have developed routing agreements with Staffordshire County Council and use the A38 for access to the North and North West rather than the A515, albeit the A515 is a primary route on the local highway network.

Dale Arthur, Development and Improvements Manager - Development Control process

Staffordshire County Council is a statutory consultee on new planning developments. 4,000-4,500 applications are received each year, a quarter of which are for the Lichfield / East Staffordshire area.

The role of the statutory consultee is to ensure that the developments do not have a severe impact on the Staffordshire road network. Pre-application advice is given to encourage a better quality formal application. Every application is checked to ensure highways and transportation matters comply with the National Planning Policy Framework, Local Plans and District Transport Strategies. For large scale developments developers are asked to provide a plan and may make financial contributions to mitigate the impact of developments (Section 278 of the Highways Act) and Section 106 agreements.

When a new application is received developers are asked to provide a transport assessment and/or a transport statement depending on the type and scale of the development. A range of factors are considered including trip generations from the development, traffic flows, accidents, road safety, connectivity, accessibility, and sustainability before recommendations are made to the local planning authority. Construction and traffic routing is important and developers are encouraged to direct access away from residential areas where possible. Some developments will require an off-site traffic management plan detailing the permitted routing for HGV traffic accessing and leaving the site. Travel plans are set and monitored as part of the planning process and travel plan monitoring occurs following occupation of the development. Following planning approval of the application, a technical submission is made by the developer’s consultant to consider new access arrangements. The developer then enters into a major works agreement with the county.

When the construction contract is let the highways works are supervised and administered by the Highways Team. Following satisfactory completion of the works the public highway is then formally adopted. 

Members asked what happened when recommendations made by the Highways Team are not enforced. The Highways Team continually monitor the situation and undertake a road safety assessment within twelve months of substantial completion. If conditions are not met then the local borough / district council could enforce such a condition under the Town and Country Planning Act. It would be up to the local planning authority to ensure that a planning condition such as a travel plan is enforced.

Members asked what would happen if a company’s suppliers breached a HGV routing agreement planning condition. If this occurred, the local borough/district council, i.e. the local planning authority would again have the powers to enforce this.

Richard Rayson, Community Infrastructure Manager - A515 Case Study

Staffordshire County Council receives more requests for improvements than it can meet for financial and practical reasons. In the last two years, 142 requests for weight limits were made from major to minor schemes. 85 requests for major schemes such as the A515 were received.

Each Member can identify community concerns and put them forward for inclusion in the DHP. All suggestions are agreed and prioritised. At the time of writing each Member has a budget of £10,000 to address local highways issues requests for weight restrictions are considered through the DHP.

Councillor Tittley prioritised a feasibility study into a weight restriction on the A515 using his DHP monies. Amey completed a technical report (at a cost of approximately £2,000) to determine if the A515 was designated correctly as a principle route; to determine what changes (if any) are required; to determine if a potential weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes on a section of the A515 between the junction with Wood End Lane and the B5017 at Stubby Lane, Draycott in the Clay is feasible and deliverable. The report considered the Freight Strategy and the importance of transport and logistics to the Staffordshire economy; the Council’s powers, duties and responsibilities in terms of managing the local highways classifications and restricting HGV use. The Council’s duty to ensure traffic can move freely and swiftly on the SCC and HE network and the classification of the A515 as a primary road. It concluded that the A515 contributes to the efficient movement of traffic within the county and the destinations along its route are correctly classified as a primary road. 

The implementation of a weight limit would require reclassification of the A515 to remove its status as a principle route. This requires the council to demonstrate that traffic flows are relatively low or that the journey of similar convenience is available through an assessment of the observed journey times and journey time reliability. Impact of displaced traffic on the alternative route would have to be given full consideration.

Traffic data from 2012-13 shows that the percentage of HGVs using the A515 in Yoxall is 11.3%, and in Draycott in the Clay, 7.4%. It was suggested that the percentage for Kings Bromley would be similar to Draycott in the Clay. Any weight restriction would have to allow vehicles to have access to businesses and premises along its route. The council has had no data on the number of HGVs that currently travel along the A515 that would be affected by a weight restriction and further evidence would have to be found. The enforcement of a weight restriction is difficult. This would be the responsibility of Staffordshire Police. Personal accident injury analysis shows there is no disproportionate number of road accidents involving HGVs along the A515. Any weight restriction would have to be suspended during these times of emergencies and planned works to the trunk road network.

The report concludes that the implementation of a weight restriction on the A515 would not be appropriate. If the council decides to go ahead Amey advises that the following should be initially undertaken:

  • Establish the percentage of HGVs using the A515 for access and the number of HGVs not affected by a weight restriction;
       
  • To establish the effect of surrounding roads for displaced traffic, including the A38, through a collection and analysis of traffic data; 
       
  • To identify any work required to replace or modify all direction signs indicating the A515 as a primary routes 
       
  • To consider the effectiveness of an appropriate enforcement strategy;
       
  • To establish the practicalities of a temporary suspension of a weight restriction when the A515 is required as an emergency diversion route in terms of frequency and signing requirements.

Officers confirmed that none of these actions have been taken as yet.

Members found it disconcerting that we had to wait for accidents to happen before action was taken. Accident data shows that reported accidents on the A515 are low in number. Average speed cameras have been installed on the A515 to influence traffic speed.

Specific solutions could be found using DHP monies to address the issue of HGVs mounting footways along the A515. Some solutions could be identified with local communities.

Members asked if there was an issue regarding the road width of the A515. A primary route should ideally be 7.3 metres wide. This is the case along the majority of the A515 but in parts of Yoxall and Kings Bromley this is not the case.

Members suggested that the origin and destination surveys be carried out. Some limited data was available that indicated that 57% of HGVs travelling to Fradley came from the North West, Warrington, Cheshire West and Cheshire East and Flintshire and 73% of HGVs are going to those destinations. This information could be supplemented by roadside interviews. Members sought reassurance that the HGVs using the A515 were using the correct route and should not be using the A38, and proposed a weight restriction on Wood End Lane.

Further evidence from DfT traffic counts showed that the number of HGVs using the A515 was typical of an ‘A’ road e.g. 11%. DfT counts are manual counts on a neutral day once a year. Further analysis of datasets going back to 2000, using 12 hour counts (not overnight) shows:

  • On the A38 at Fradley and the A50 at Sudbury, traffic volume going up, but less than it was at its peak.
       
  • HGV volume and % of traffic on those roads are below the historic levels, but increasing in percentage in more recent years, probably reflecting the downturn in the economy and the fact that traffic is starting to grow again.

At Kings Bromley there are two DfT traffic count sites, one to the north of the village and one to the south of the village. The traffic volume at the north shows overall traffic volume is less than at its historic peak, but has started to increase in recent years. HGV volumes have been generally reducing in recent years, and the percentage of HGVs has been reducing. To the south of the village, the overall traffic volume is less than the historic peak, but has increased in recent years. HGV volumes have followed a broadly similar pattern. The percentage of HGVs has very slightly increased in recent years. 

In Yoxall, overall traffic volume is less than its historic peak but increased in recent years. A similar pattern for HGVs - less than historic levels, fairly constant in recent years.

Between Five Lane Ends and Mitre crossroads, overall traffic volume is less than at its historic peak, but has been increasing in recent years. Volume and % of HGVs - less than historic levels and have been fairly constant in recent years. 

Right to the north of the A515, north of Draycott in the Clay, overall the volume of vehicles has increased, the volume of HGVs is generally down and the percentage of HGVs is generally down over the period. Finally at the A513 west of Alrewas, overall the volume of traffic is less than historic peak and volume and % of HGV quite specifically down.

In summary, officers stated that this data gave quite a mixed picture of the volume of HGVs using the A515 and they would like to do more work to understand this data better.

Data from the council’s own dataset recording data at 12 hour counts from 6am in the morning to 6pm in the evening and from 6pm in the evening to 6am in the morning, from our permanent site in Yoxall Road, Kings Bromley shows average hourly traffic flows between midnight and 11am for the last 12 months. 94% of the total flows from 6am and 10pm peak day time flows show 300 vehicles travelling in each direction. Night time flows varies from day to day, but typically can be down to 5 vehicles an hour but can be up to 40 vehicles, but most of the traffic is in the day time. The counts do not differentiate the type of vehicle.

Members favoured working with local Members to identify safety schemes that make the villages along the A515 less desirable to travel through.

Members did not consider that the DHP was adequate for addressing highways issues that cross Members’ divisions and county boundaries. Officers stated that the DHP was a means of identifying and recording issues that had been raised by the public with their Councillors that may be appropriate for minor scale traffic schemes and other issues that it might be appropriate to secure Section 278 or 106 funding.

Members raised the issue of other housing development plans such as Brook Hay and the impact on the A38 and A515.

Trunk Road emergency diversion routes

If a weight restriction were imposed on the A515 it would still be required to be an emergency diversion route for the A38 and A50. A weight restriction on the A515 would have to be temporarily suspended during this time.

HS2

Clive Thomson informed Members that Phase 1 of the HS2 is going through the Hybrid Bill. Information was shared with Members regarding the potential impact of HS2 on this area. The council have petitioned on some of the proposals to minimise disruption on local residents.

HS2 construction traffic will affect the southernmost 600m of the A515. HS2 traffic would not be affected by a weight restriction and would have right of access through the route.

Rhys Williams, Road Haulage Association

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) represents 10,000 members of the haulage industry across the West Midlands, 360 of whom are in Staffordshire. The RHA does not represent lorry drivers from outside the UK. 

Hauliers are not committing an offence by using the A515.

The RHA would oppose the implementation of a 7.5 tonne limit. They would suggest introducing traffic calming measures along the route e.g. traffic lights at the pinch points along the A515 and bollards, or railing to prevent trucks mounting pavements.

The RHA could advice drivers to use a specified route, but would not dissuade them from using the A515. If speed is a concern, speed cameras should be installed.

Members reflected on the growing size of trucks, no longer being appropriate for some country roads.

Members stated that if hauliers who were not using the appropriate roads should be fined for breaking the law. The RHA did not disagree.

The RHA stated that if the council had routing agreements in place that were not being abided by they should take the matter up with the relevant company.

The RHA stated that if the council had routing agreements in place that were not being abided by they should take the matter up with the relevant company. 

Members raised the issue of (poor provision of) lorry parks and facilities which could dissuade drivers from joining the haulage industry. 

Finally Members asked if a ban from using the A515 during certain times of day could be considered.

Letty Askew, Asset Manager, Highways England

Highways England is now a government owned company following the Infrastructure Act that came into force in March 2015. It was formally Highways England, an executive agency of DfT. Highways England is the highways authority for the strategic road network within England and has funding for five years. Its plans are set out in the Roads Investment Strategy and Highways England Delivery Plan 2015-2020. 

Highways England’s network within Staffordshire is comprised of the M6, A5, A38, A5148, A500 and A50 (part of this road is operated by a consultant, connect roads, on behalf of Highways England). Highway England also has a responsibility to liaise with the M6 toll operator (Midlands Expressway Ltd). However, the Secretary of State remains the highway authority for the M6 toll. The A515 is a local highways authority road and is operated by Staffordshire County Council.

Letty explained that she and her team were responsible for the day to day maintenance of the above ‘A’ roads, identifying short and longer term needs for improvements, responding to consultations and responses to planning applications and local plans and engaging directly with stakeholders, local highways and planning authorities, private developers, district and parish councils and individual customers who use their network.

The response of Highways England to the concerns raised regarding the A515 summarised as the quantity of vehicles using the A515; safety; drivers failing to comply with speed limits and signals; narrow carriageway and overrunning junctions; traffic vibration; noise and property damage. Other concerns were summarised as the A38 needs to be widened, that HGVs are travelling (on the A513) through Alrewas rather than using Hilliards Cross and the A38, and that we need more lorry parks and overnight facilities for drivers. 

Highways England stated that they had no objection, in principle, to a weight restriction on the A515. However, the A515 is used as an emergency diversion route from the A38 and it was the view of the Highways England that attempts to divert traffic down a longer route would be unsuccessful. Furthermore, in the event of the need for urgent (i.e. unplanned) repairs on the A38, the Highways England would need a 24 hour contact with Staffordshire County Council to enable the restriction to be lifted and arrangements for signs to be put in place to say that the restriction has been lifted.

Members requested details of the number of road closures on the A38 over the last year. The following information was submitted by Highways England:

Between January 2014 and 7th December 2015, Highways England had the following closures on the A38:

  • 14 closures for Emergency Works;
  • 4 closures resulting from Incidents;
  • 35 closures for Planned Works.

These do not include single lane closures, which would not have required traffic to leave the A38. These figures include all full carriageway closures between Lichfield and Toyota roundabout, where vehicles may have chosen to use the A515 as a diversion route, regardless of whether the A515 was signed as a diversion route for that closure.

The Highways England considered that more data was required on how much traffic using the A515 is through traffic.

The Highways England stated that they could take the following steps to assist.

Highways England can only influence drivers who use its network, but would agree that the A38 is the most appropriate road for HGV drivers to use.

They have a dedicated project looking at the suitability of diversion routes that was currently bidding for funding. Highways England is keen to receive feedback from customers and stakeholders. Concerns from both inquiry days had been noted and would be fed into the process. Highways England was looking at ways to reduce the number of closures on the A38. Longer term funding gives the Highways England the opportunity to look at ways in which the A38 can be improved.

Highways England has been involved in pre-planning discussions regarding the Brook Hay development.

There is an ongoing study looking at the strategic needs of the A38 from Weeford to the Toyota roundabout. Once the study is complete, any identified needs would be subject to a competitive tendering process. Highways England would be working with Staffordshire County Council to discuss the findings and how these are taken forward.

Highways England is also looking at how most priority trunk roads could be brought up to a better standard. This is called the Expressways concept. This work is in its early stages of development.

Highways England has no responsibility for the provision of service areas and lorry parks.

Highways England has limited influence over drivers using the A515 but offered to have discussions with Staffordshire County Council officers about possibilities along this route.

Highways England responded to the suggestion of a night time ban on the A515 by stating that this would clash with when most roadworks are undertaken on the A38.

In response to questions from Members it was clarified that Highways England agree diversion routes with local authorities. If a diversion route was put on a road there was a need for additional signage to indicate the route and to waive the weight restriction. Diversion routes are only operated when there is a total closure of the carriageway (i.e. not a single lane closure).

In response to Members’ question regarding the capacity of the A38, the Highways England responded that although it did depend on the time of day and the day of the week, overall the A38 was experiencing high capacity.

Members expressed views that legislative changes were needed to address the issue and that MPs should have a copy of the final report. A further view was expressed by Members that qualitative data regarding the impact that HGVs on Staffordshire roads was having on local residents’ lives was as valid as quantitative data.

At the end of the receiving evidence on Day 2 the Chairman gave parish councils a further opportunity to ask questions. 

Mark Flavell on behalf of Yoxall, Kings Bromley and Draycott in the Clay Parish Councils

Mark Flavell on behalf of Yoxall, Kings Bromley and Draycott in the Clay Parish Councils had a number of follow up questions:

Do we have quantified data that shows that the Staffordshire economy would be impacted by a weight restriction on the A515?

Would a weight restriction on the A515 be difficult to enforce?

Inspector Neeson, Staffordshire Police, indicated that it would be difficult to enforce the weight restriction 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To secure a successful prosecution the Police would have to have evidence that vehicles were not delivering to premises along the route of the A515.

How do local people feed in their concerns through the DHP process if their local councillor does not agree with the proposal local people have put forward?

The Chairman indicated that if this were the case there were processes that could be followed (contact the relevant Cabinet Member).

What happens if drivers ignore the routing agreement that has been made with their business? Are penalties imposed?

It is for the local planning authority to enforce the condition in the routing agreement.

The Chairman asked for details of the routing agreements in place for businesses on Fradley Park.

Mr Williams from the Road Haulage Association added that representations could be made to the Traffic Commissioner if routing agreements are being breached, specifically if the agreements are subject to conditions of an operators’ licence.

Councillor Eagland (Lichfield Rural North)

Councillor Eagland (Lichfield Rural North) drew Members attention to the fact that road repairs on the A38 had led to a diversion route through Lichfield. Whilst the signage had been adequate, HGV drivers had used their satnavs to identify a quicker route to join the A38 through the centre of Lichfield and they have continued to use this route in spite of the road repairs having been completed. This was having an impact also on the safety of old buildings in the town centre. Councillor Eagland asked what influence Highways England and the RHA had on the routes on satnavs.

The level of influence that the Highways England has over satnav operators, once HGV drivers have left the principle road network, is minimal, but the Highways Englands representative asked Councillor Eagland to let her have further details and she would take the matter up with them.

Roger Sherrington

Will the final report of this Committee be a report of County Council recommendations, uninfluenced by what HE will allow the Council to do?

Are average speed cameras incapable of identifying a vehicle (apart from its registration number)?

David Walters responded that a speed camera could identify the registration number and type of vehicle but to enable a successful prosecution, the police would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the vehicle was not accessing premises along the route. Local authorities have no powers in this regard.

Mr Sherrington responded that it would be unlikely that a large HGV would be visiting local stores along the A515.

Does traffic management form part of the Highways Englands’s report?

Letty Askew responded that this there was a possibility that this could form part of the Expressways concept and may also form part of the recommendations from the study.

Mr Sherrington asked for details of the (routing agreement) conditions being placed on new businesses using Fradley Park and on existing businesses that were expanding and if in liaison with hauliers we could ask that they are sympathetic to local residents.

What are your views on a weight restriction being applied to Wood End Lane?

Richard Rayson responded that applying a weight restriction to Wood End Lane would prevent HGVs from using the A515.

Mr Sherrington asked how many hauliers in the RHA were from Europe.

Mr Williams stated that all RHA members were from the UK.

Steve Browne, Kings Bromley Parish Council

The volume of HGV vehicles using the A515 and the A513 was 931 (over a 24 hour period). What would happen in the future when a HS2 construction compound is being erected at the end of Wood End Lane at its junction with the A515, this could result in 2,500 (corrected as 2,400) going through the Kings Bromley junction every day. This information was later qualified as follows:

 
 931 This is the current volume using the A515 and the A513 
 1250 This is High Speed Train 2s own figure for heavy HGV movements per day when HS2 Phase 1 and Phase 2 is being constructed between 2017 and 2032. HS2 intend creating a large construction site at the end of Wood End Lane at its junction with the A515. If Hilliards Cross is not reconstructed, then all of these vehicles could use the A515 and the A513.
 300

This is the estimated increased figure of HGVs using the A515/A513 should Fradley Park be developed as proposed. This figure also includes HGVs that would use the A515/A513 if aggregates are extracted under the latest proposal by Staffordshire County Council.

Mr Browne added that for information purposes a limited exercise counting the number of vehicles (light vans, cars and motor cycles) indicate that there are approximately 6,000 other vehicles using the ‘T’ junction of the A515/A513 through Kings Bromley.

Information received following inquiry day 2

Lichfield resident

A local resident rang following the second inquiry day to ask that he put forward a case to the working group regarding the request by some Lichfield residents for a weight restriction on the A5127 in Lichfield town. He asked that Members be referred to the Lichfield Action Group's A5127 website

He stated on the telephone to the Scrutiny and Support Manager that he had been dealing with this issue for the last two years. His experiences were similar to those encountered by local residents who lived along the A515 with some slight differences.

In summary he stated that he had been in touch with Highways England regarding HGV traffic going through Lichfield town centre and expressed frustration at their inability to influence the situation as it is not part of their road network. A similar response had been received from the RHA, Freight Transport Association and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

He had met with county council officers and his local MP and Members to discuss the matter. A proposal by residents to the county council for a temporary traffic order on the A5127 (or weight restriction order) has been refused because it was an ‘A’ road. He argued that ‘A’ roads could be declassified. Furthermore he considered that the quality of life of local residents had not been taken into consideration. He was sceptical about whether drivers would use the southern bypass when it is completed. Whilst agreeing that attracting business and employment to the area was important there was a need for an overview of the impact that economic developments (bearing in mind the developments at Friarsgate, Brookhay, Liberty Park and those associated with the HS2).

In spite of the reservations expressed during the Inquiry regarding enforcement, he favoured this approach as the way forward and suggested that the local Police could work with the local community to mount enforcement operations. His view was that enforcements would deter companies from “HGV breaches”.

Councillor Ron Clarke, Burton Town East Staffordshire (by email 4.1.16)

Subsequent to the inquiry days Councillor Clarke contacted the Scrutiny and Support Manager to ask if the following matters could be taken into account.

Regarding Henhurst Hill, Burton upon Trent. Staffordshire County Council spent a lot of time and money doing surveys, the result - more signage for HGVs on the outskirts of Burton. Regarding Horninglow Street - complaints of HGVs shaking the properties and speeding empty HGVs early morning making noise. Waterloo St again making properties shake.

Over many years the East Staffs Borough Council have tried to get agreements with the Haulage distributors to use various routes in and out of Burton to no avail. All residents in the most affected areas of Burton want weight restrictions of 7.5 vehicles. Unfortunately once it is given to one area it would create problems for other areas.

The county council needed to have a clear policy of weight restrictions for all areas; this would save thousands of pounds of wasted officer time and costly survey. The county should again try and reach agreement with haulage distributors on using various routes although it will not solve the problem it could help to reduce the impact. I hope that Staffordshire County Council does not miss this opportunity to give a clear message to all concerned.

Barton under Needwood Parish Council (by email 22.1.16)

Better Safer Barton project - Village enhancement scheme - to mitigate the impact of motorised traffic in the village. The prime objective of the project is to enhance the environment in the centre of the village while maintaining its historic character.

A Destination Village. Regeneration schemes and projects in parallel with the Better - Safer Barton project can create a destination village / increase tourism, leisure pursuits and retail activity in the centre of the village.

An Alternative Solution to Weight Restrictions along the A515 and elsewhere? - Better Safer Barton ideas may benefit Yoxall, Kings Bromley, and Draycott-in-the Clay, and other villages.

Motorised Traffic on Main Street / Residents View / Safety - 80% of residents felt that reducing motorised traffic along Main Street was a priority. Safety a major concern along Main Street particularly at narrowest points / very little space between heavy goods vehicles and pedestrians. Incidents of pedestrians being “clipped” by wing mirrors from HCVs.

Quality of the Environment. Proximity of motorised traffic - fears of diesel emissions and noise on the health of pedestrians + emissions, noise and vibrations - particularly from HCV’s - are damaging properties and the general fabric of the village.

School Population and Safety. 2000 pupils - frequent instances of traffic – including HCV’s and double decker buses – mounting the narrow and crowded pavements. SUSTRANS National Cycle Route diverted from Main Street because too dangerous

Shared Space /Reducing the dominance of motorised traffic - One of the best means of mitigating the impact/reducing dominance of motorised traffic.

Shared Space and the Better Safer Barton project - Poynton visit. Consultants appointed. Extensive/intensive consulting of village residents. Feasibility study. Design concept. Better Safer Barton scheme.

Present Situation -  Trying to raise the funding for Detail Design by AMEY / SCC which will provide overall cost and information for a Request for Quotation. Successful contractor will construct the project.

Conclusion. Better Safer Barton project + concepts of Shared Space may help Yoxall, Kings Bromley and Draycott-in-the Clay / other villages along the A 515 and elsewhere in Staffordshire.

Submission by Barton under Needwood Parish Council

Better Safer Barton Project - Barton-under-Needwood Parish Council (BPC) believes the village suffers from the impact of all motorised traffic including heavy commercial vehicles. This motorised traffic affects residents in a number of ways, which we set out below. BPC, through extensive community engagement, has been trying to promote a village enhancement scheme - The Better Safer Barton project - to mitigate the impact of motorised traffic in the village. The prime objective of the project is to enhance the environment in the centre of the village while maintaining its historic character. The Better Safer Barton project will help BPC achieve this objective. 

A destination village - Using economic regeneration schemes and projects in parallel with the Better Safer Barton project BPC believes that Barton-under-Needwood can become a Destination Village. This will increase tourism, leisure pursuits and retail activity in the centre of the village. The National Forest, SCC Leader Fund, ESBC and Heritage Lottery are all supporting numerous current regeneration schemes being pursued e.g. , Historic Walks based on the Tudor Church, Art festivals / Exhibitions , Walking / cycling centre using circular routes / Tourist Information Centre using the, “Pub as a Hub” concept. 

An alternative solution to Weight Restrictions along the A515 and elsewhere? - BPC felt that the Better Safer Barton scheme - to mitigate the impact of motorised traffic in the village centre and thus improve the environment - may be of interest. In addition the scheme may point towards the application of some ideas which may be both beneficial to and applicable in the villages of Yoxall, Kings Bromley, and Draycott-in-the Clay, in other villages with similar problems along the A 515, in other areas of Staffordshire and perhaps throughout the UK.

The Village of Barton under Needwood - Barton is a village of approximately 5000 people situated about a mile to the east of the A 38 on the B 5016, which links the A38 in the east, and with Yoxall in the west. It is a historic village with an extensive Conservation Area at it heart, on either side of the Main Street / Station Road frontage. Traffic counts in 2011 (latest available data) indicate approximately 6000 vehicles a day use Main Street / Station Road - but the proportion of HCVs is unknown. The village lies on the Emergency Diversion Route for the A 38, and as and when there is an accident on an appropriate section, traffic is diverted through the village. These diversions are very difficult for residents on the B5016 – but we greatly appreciate recent attempts by the relevant authorities to divert traffic away from Barton-under-Needwood by starting these diversions at more distant points.

Village centre layout - Most of the shops and services in Barton-under-Needwood are located along the north side of Main Street, whereas the majority of the population live in housing estates to the south side. This means that if residents walk to the shops they have to cross the often very busy Main Street at least twice each day. This can be a problem for the elderly and disabled.

Motorised traffic on main street / residents view / safety - While the amount of traffic is perceived by residents to have increased with a proportionate rise in HCV traffic, BPC gets the impression that the impact of traffic on the community is not a high priority for Staffordshire County Council. We are, therefore, grateful that the County Council is now investigating this issue through this inquiry. In a recent consultation exercise (March 2014), respondents were asked to highlight traffic issues. 80% felt that reducing the volume and dominance of motorised traffic along Main Street was a priority. Safety was also a major concern along Main Street - in particular at its narrowest points where there is very little space between heavy goods vehicles and pedestrians. In addition the narrow pavements present obstacles for users of wheelchairs and parents using buggies. There have been a number of reported incidents of pedestrians being “clipped” by wing mirrors from HCVs.

Quality of the environment - The quality of the environment in the centre of the village in general and the conservation area in particular is deteriorating as a result of the increase in motorised traffic - because they are so close to the motorised traffic there are fears about the impact of diesel emissions and noise on the health of pedestrians. The narrowness of the pavement and carriageway combined with emissions, noise and vibrations - particularly from HCV’s - are felt to be damaging properties and the general fabric of the village.

School population and safety - Barton is fortunate in having an infant, junior and secondary school all within the village, with a total student population of about 2000. However the village experiences a “lock-down” in the morning and afternoon period when school traffic reaches a peak, albeit for a relatively short period of time. In a recent survey the village schools informed us that typically only two students cycle to school and only occasionally - mainly because of perceived traffic danger. There are frequent instances of all types of motorised traffic – including HCV’s and double decker buses – mounting the narrow and crowded pavements. On street parking hinders the free flow of traffic through the village. Air pollution has been increasing. The SUSTRANS National Cycle Route no 54 has been diverted from the B5016 because the route is perceived to be too dangerous.

Shared space / reducing the dominance of motorised traffic - BPC has been told on numerous occasions over many years that the County Council will not support a ban on HCV’s along Main Street (the B5016). 

Given the increasing amount of motorised traffic of all types - particularly with the expansion of industrial and warehousing facilities along the A38 and the projected new housebuilding in the village and adjacent villages – BPC set up the Village Enhancement Committee whose prime task was to investigate alternative solutions to the traffic problem.

We found that the application of the concepts of, “Shared Space” is one of the best means of mitigating the impact of and reducing the dominance of motorised traffic. “Shared Space is a design concept that seeks to change the way streets operate by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles, primarily through lower speeds and encouraging drivers to behave more accommodatingly towards pedestrians” (Department of Transport Note 1/11 Shared Space).

Shared Space is a traffic management concept, but it is also a means of enhancing the environment, because it uses local distinctiveness in its design.

Generally speaking most shared space schemes include a gateway feature, the removal of traffic lights so as to prevent idling traffic causing pollution, the narrowing of carriageways, the creation of public spaces and strategic pedestrian crossing points. 

Shared space and the better Barton project - Following a public meeting in the village in December 2012, addressed by Shared Space proponent Ben Hamilton-Baillie, the Parish Council was sufficiently enthused by the concept to visit Poynton in Cheshire which has a Shared Space scheme in operation.

Poynton Town Council said that prior to the installation of their Shared Space scheme that their town centre was a grimy place in poor repair – “it was dying and we had to revitalise the centre”. At the time of our visit Poynton centre had been revitalised, the decline had been reversed and there had been a 90% increase in footfall - as a direct result of the Shared Space scheme.

Following the visit BPC appointed a firm of Urban Design and Heritage consultants to undertake a feasibility study to test whether or not a Shared Space approach would be approved by the village residents and would work in the village. Following extensive community involvement and support, we now have a design concept for enhancing the environment in the centre of the village. This is the Better Safer Barton scheme.

Present situation - Barton under Needwood Council is currently trying to raise the funding for the cost of a Detail Design by AMEY / SCC. The Detail Design will then provide us with the overall cost and information needed to produce a Request for Quotation. The successful civil engineering contractor will then construct the project.

Conclusion - BPC firmly believes that some of the aspects of the Better Safer Barton project and some of the concepts involved in Shared Space may be appropriate for Yoxall, Kings Bromley and Draycott-in-the Clay as well as other villages along the A 515 and elsewhere in Staffordshire.

We submit the idea of the Better Safer Barton project for consideration by the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee Working Group as both a practical and functional attempt to mitigate the impacts of motorised traffic on villages in Staffordshire faced with similar traffic problems.


Implications

Link to strategic plan

The Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee is responsible for scrutiny of the achievement of the Council’s strategic ambitions for promoting prosperity and economic growth and the scrutiny of highways infrastructure and connectivity.

Link to other scrutiny activity

The Committee has considered a number of key programmes of work and has had the opportunity to scrutinise HS2 and the Transport Review. In 2008-9 a predecessor scrutiny committee undertook a review of Speed Policy Working Group reported to the Corporate Policy Scrutiny & Performance Committee on 20 April 2009.

Resources and value for money

Some of the recommendations require funding and will have to be prioritized against other existing programmed activities through the County Council’s Integrated Transport Programme.

Equalities and legal

Restricting the routing of HCVs through communities could have a positive impact on social inclusion. There are duties under the Traffic Management Act 2004 to ensure traffic can move freely and quickly on the county’s road network and on roads of nearby local highway authorities, such as Highways England.

Risk

Restricting the routing of HCVs could lead to issues in terms of displacement, wider accessibility and economic prosperity.

Climate change

Vehicle emissions contribute to the concentration of gases in the atmosphere that cause climate change.

Health

  • Vehicle emissions are one of the main sources of local air pollution, which, in turn, affects human health. This is a particular issue in urban areas, along busy roads and junctions.
       
  • Noise pollution from traffic can also affect human health
      
  • Lack of adequate welfare facilities for HCV drivers could affect their health.
       
  • The Committee has been made aware of significant road safety issues as a result of their Inquiry.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank representatives of Draycott in the Clay, Kings Bromley and Yoxall Parish Councils and Yoxall Action Group for the evidence that they have provided to the Inquiry Days and to other contributors to this report including local Members and County Council officers.


 

Contact Officers

Name: Tina Randall, Scrutiny and Support Manager
Staffordshire County Council
Telephone: 01785 276148
E-mail: tina.randall@staffordshire.gov.uk

Name: Louise Barnett, Scrutiny and Support Officer
Staffordshire County Council
Telephone: 01785 276144
E-mail: louise.barnett@staffordshire.gov.uk 

Press Enquiries: Tom Hobbins, Campaigns Officer (Media)
Staffordshire County Council
Telephone: 01785 276832


Background papers


Appendix 1

Philip E Jones Stone Urban (Stafford) – email 23.9.15

The issue is best addressed in two ways. The environmental impact and the economic impact. In Stone we have two major roads both heavily used by HGV’s. Some vehicles are in transit others visiting establishments in Stone. The establishments would not exist in Stone if they could not be served by economically effective road transport and their loss would be a major blow to the local economy. I think that all of us in Stone recognise this and accept the side effects on the environment. As for through traffic, of course it would be better if it could be re-routed or better still in the case of bulk minerals e.g. quarry products, is rail carried. But we have to be realistic and accept that often there are no feasible alternative routes and we are left with exploring mitigating measures such as lower speed limits, good signposting, and acoustic barriers.

Susan Woodward - Burntwood North (Lichfield) – email 24.9.15

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Since the opening of the by-pass, this has been far less of a problem around Burntwood than it was before – but we do suffer, as probably elsewhere, by some HGVs ignoring weight limits and the lack of enforcement on these.

Philip Atkins - Uttoxeter Rural (East Staffordshire) – email 28.9.15

The history of the A515 in my and Tim Corbett’s division goes back a long time, and we have tried to work together.

However of all the parishes on the A515, ALL the traffic passes through Draycott in the Clay. The A515 is also a high sided vehicle route.

After Draycott the traffic then goes in 4 directions; off on the B5017 at Six Lane Ends, turns at Yoxall towards the A38 through Barton under Needwood or turns at Kings Bromley towards the A38 at Alrewas or continues on the A515 to Lichfield. All the traffic passes through Draycott. All of this also passes through Tim’s division. A weight restriction in one place puts extra pressure on the others.

While I understand the principle of sharing the load, for Draycott’s sake a number of measures have been put in place over the years to deter HCVs from using the A515 and stay on the A50 travelling towards the A38. From the A50 there are traffic lights on Dove Bridge at Sudbury, a railway level crossing, a 40 mph speed limit from before Dovegate Prison with speed cameras through Draycott in the Clay. Then there is the steep hill out of the village in a 40 mph zone followed by a 50 mph limit at the top with Automatic Number Plate Recognition/Average Speed cameras on the A515. These measures should reduce any time or fuel benefit of talking a short cut to the A38.

If weight restrictions were put in place it would be hard to police as there are many places to deliver to on or just off the road. St Georges Park, Lancaster Business Park, Dovegate Prison, numerous farms, Hoar Cross Hall, Eland Riding School, etc.

The B5017 is used as a short cut to the A515 and Burton from Uttoxeter and has Marchington Industrial Estate and another business park (check name) accessed off it so I also fear displacement. Measures have been put in place in Marchington village to deter prison traffic. When Marchington Camp was used as an intervention grain store in the 1980s, much damage was done to the rural roads by HGVs which cost over £1m to correct some 20 years ago.

While I understand the emotion behind a petition there has to be a solution that helps both all the villagers and the hauliers. Better routing of lorries and deterrence from using the A515 to make it a route of last resort could be a part solution.

John Francis - Stafford South East (Stafford) by email 30.9.15

HGV's especially 44 tonnes are too large for A513 Main Road, this gives us as resident’s great concern as the lorries encroach on the opposite carriageway outside Milford Hall where the road narrows. It's now a serious issue and serious accident waiting to happen. We already have the refuges on Milford Road & Main Road being damaged at least twice p.a.

Brian Jenkins – Watling North (Tamworth) by email 1.10.15

We have a problem on the B5404 in Tamworth, we have a 7.5.tonne limit, but it is not enforced. So everyone ignores it and HGVs roll through the village. The problem is the enforcement authority, does not enforce it. We do not have enough staff in trading standards to carry out these functions. The police only have enough staff to carry out their duties. I did make a suggestion to County Council officers has to a possible solution to the problem, but obviously it was not possible because nothing was said to me afterwards and the idea was probably dropped.

Simon Tagg – Westlands and Thistleberry (Newcastle) by email 2.10.15

We are currently experiencing issues with HGV’s across the Newcastle area:

1. HGV’s (gravel, marl removal) ignoring designated routes and using roads in residential areas even though signs have been put up (by SCC via local Councillors DHP’s). This is creating highway dangers and destroying the surface of roads not built for such weights.

2. HGV’s (supermarket delivery and Parcel Delivery) using local roads, such as Clayton Road (A519) instead of the A34 to resupply supermarkets and get to delivery depots.

3. SCC seems limited in its response to this and is often ignored by companies - enforcement is an issue. Is it not something MP’s could take up and lobby in parliament on behalf of the resident they represent? Legislation is required.

Bob Fraser - Dove (East Staffordshire) by email 5.10.15

Following your request, my feelings on this matter are:

In Staffordshire we are lucky enough to live, and work, in a beautiful part of the country so we have the benefit of many types of road. On the one hand we have country lanes and we must respect those lanes and the restrictions which are applied to them for our benefit, sometimes necessary for our safety. On the other, we have a need for A and B class roads, which are there to allow goods to be transferred to and from factories, warehouses and shops.

I have been driving now for some 50 years in villages, towns and cities. Sometimes professionally, and sometimes for pleasure. ‘A’ class roads and trunk roads are a requirement. They allow us to go to local shops and buy goods. Goods which have often been delivered by large lorries.

If we restrict those roads, in any way, we increase the cost of those goods.

I strongly dislike the use of so called speed humps. They shake things around and cause drivers to alternatively slow down and speed up, using more fuel in the process, and causing extra noise pollution.

Roads such as the A515, are prime examples of this, and as such I am vehemently opposed to the application of false restrictions on such roads.

On built-up roads in towns and villages, such restrictions can be a requirement. In rural areas they are less valid. I was taught to keep things moving, and I support that. We should share the roads.

Mike Davies - Wombourne (South Staffordshire) by email 6.10.15

People living in Orton Lane (well used) complained that HGVs were using it as a short cut to the quarry in Seisdon delivering demolition type material from a variety of locations in the West Midlands. We discussed the matter with local policing unit for advice. All routes into Wombourne have 7.5 tonne restrictions except for deliveries. We checked that signage was both clear and correctly located. The lorry ownership was identified and received letters from the police cautioning them to cease using Wombourne as a short cut. Things have settled down but I've agreed with the police that any further breach will result in ticketing which carries both a fine and 3 points on their licences. The residents are now monitoring the situation.

Cheslyn Hay Parish Council – on behalf of Councillor Mike Lawrence by email 9.10.15

The issue of HGV’s was discussed at our Parish Council meeting yesterday evening and the problems encountered in Cheslyn Hay are as follows:-

Not enough enforcement action is taken against height/weight restriction contraventions;

HGV’s delivering to small estates (Glenthorne shops) do not have enough room to manoeuvre and often drive on pavements as they are too large resulting in objects or cars being damaged (bollards near the shop were taken out regularly until removed permanently);

Satellite navigation systems send HGV’s through the Village (ignoring height and weight restrictions) – can any liaison be made with the system providers to update the systems with this information?

Lorries divert down Wolverhampton Road from the quarry in Essington and lorries take a short cut through Cheslyn Hay if the M6 is blocked.

Lack of clarity in enforcement approach – foreign drivers are not arrested as they are unable to leave their vehicles unattended.

Michael Greatorex - Tamworth by email 9.10.15

Watling South (my Division) and Watling North (Cllr Jenkins) and Stonydelph (Cllr Cook and where I live), all border Junction 10 of the M42 and A5.

There are business parks around Junction 10 including a big park east of the Junction in North Warwickshire – this Park (Dordon) will no doubt service places west of Junction 10 and initially travel on the A5.

HGVs from Junction 10 will also service smaller parks in Tamworth such as Amington which mainly use main roads and short cuts through residential streets which are either indicated on Satnav or get known by HGV drivers.

A resident tells me that signs about HGVs on the M42 either side of Junction 10 are poor – I’ve not checked these myself. No doubt signs may be poor off the A5 bypass.

Junction 10 is the Tamworth Junction and will service traffic to Tamworth, Lichfield and places east of the Junction.

Ventura Park is the major retail park alongside the A5 and sits on the main approach road to Tamworth town centre. Ventura Park is popular as a regional retail park. I have spoken to shoppers there from Burton, Solihull, Nuneaton, Sutton Coldfield etc. etc. It is obviously serviced by HGVs.

Watling Street (the former A5 before the by-pass was built) is still used by HGVs getting to and returning from Wilnecote, Two Gates, Belgrave, Fazeley etc. and this traffic finds shortcuts through residential streets. There are business parks around Ninian Way and Hedging Lane, Wilnecote. There are some local HGV signs but many complaints about HGVs – it might be a shortcut for HGVs coming from Coleshill (a big business park at Hams Hall) and Kingsbury and possibly the eastern part of Birmingham. HGVs use Hockley Road (a main old district service road from Watling Street) which is narrow and littered with parked cars and there was a residential house wall demolished by an HGV at the southern end near Gorsey Bank Road.

Local business vehicles (light lorries, vans) etc. are often parked by drivers overnight in the residential streets where the drivers live. We need to encourage employers to provide off street parking for their vehicles and encourage them to get their drivers to use others forms of travel to pick up / return their business vehicles at the start/end of the working day.

A local Tamworth Councillor has asked if the Working Group would be able to review issues that are cross boundary falling within Warwickshire viz the junction with Overwoods Road and Trinity Road where the most recent road traffic accident involved a HGV.

About 2 years ago three people were killed in another collision at this junction.

Below is a note provided for me this week from a resident viz

1. as mentioned: lorries driving on Watling Street and surrounding areas where the roads are clearly marked for them not too

2. the section of motorway between J10 and J11 is marked no overtaking for lorries but they still do, thus holding up traffic considerably

As for Trinity Road:

1. getting the speed for that road reduced would help and also slow the lorries down that race along there

2. double white lines in the middle of the road to stop overtaking particularly by the road junctions where the accidents have occurred. This would give better visibility to drivers in those areas

3. Adequate lighting.

And from another resident viz

Fri 2nd Oct 17.40 hrs

Huge articulated truck (details taken) manoeuvring out of Hockley road onto Watling Street B5404. A haulage company responsible but didn’t get name on cab.

Mon 20th July 10.37pm

Two trucks (details taken) came from Marlborough Way B5400 onto Watling Street B5404 and then turned right into Hockley Road - residential. They were NOT making deliveries at 10.30pm - using it as a normal driving route. Registration No. recorded

Wed 2nd Sept

Transport co (details taken) - 0161 telephone number proceeding along Hockley Road then turning onto B5404.

David Williams – 9.12.15

Car drivers unaware of differing speed limits of LGV vehicles becoming frustrated.

Many junctions not wide enough for articulated vehicles meaning they have to take up more than one lane.

The sighting of the waiting vehicles on the road being turned into set so turn cannot happen and then conflict with LGV Long driver hours becoming boring to LGV drivers and reduce concentration Poor driving standards similar to car drivers as LGV drivers.

Foreign vehicles with drivers sitting on the opposite side with a more reduced visual display.

Unclean vehicles causing vision issues with vehicles behind and opposite direction The use of other LGV's by others to leapfrog on motorways to keep them alert blocking the central lane.

The sheer weight imposed by the vehicle damaging the road Seeing that verges, fencing and lane edges are damaged and spread out around the highway Impatient drivers, too close to the rear, meaning that LGV cannot see them until they pull out.


Appendix 2 - Recommendations 

Staffordshire Wide

To the Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport

1. That the County Council’s Freight Strategy is updated with a detailed action plan and that it is brought back to the Select Committee for consideration in six month’s time. The Committee wishes to emphasize that overnight parking of HGVs in Staffordshire be given thorough reconsideration. 14. The revised Freight Strategy to include an update on the use of satellite navigation systems. 18. To ask local Borough and District Councils to consider the development of lorry parks and enable overnight parking provision in their areas as part of their Local Plans. Consideration should be given to the creation of designated lorry bays and overnight parking facilities of appropriate size, with clear signage. 19. That the Cabinet Member undertakes a review of lorry parks and facilities for HGV drivers in the County.

15. That the Cabinet Member ensures that the County Council’s Highways Team provides clear advice to planning authorities in respect of the highways implications and location of developments likely to generate additional freight movements on the highway network and recommends financial contributions for the highways infrastructure by the relevant developers.

17. That the Cabinet Member ensures that the views of local people are taken into account as part of all recommendations the County Council makes concerning major traffic disruption to residents during and after the HS2 project.

21. A number of issues were raised by County Councillors relating to problems in their areas. It is recommended that the Community Infrastructure Managers take up discussions with the relevant County Councillor to address these matters.

22. That the Cabinet Member initiates a forum for regular discussion with Council officers and representatives from Highways England, Road Haulage Association, Staffordshire’s Chamber of Commerce Transport Forum in order to develop an understanding of County wide distribution issues and promote constructive solutions which reconcile the need of access for goods and services with local, environment and social concerns.

23. That the Cabinet Member lobbies Staffordshire MPs to act on the issue of the impact that heavy goods vehicles are having on roads and communities in Staffordshire.

To local borough and district councils in Staffordshire

6. That local licensing authorities carefully consider HGV operators license applications involving property served off the rural network to take into account the impact on the local community.

7. That if breaches of routing agreements take place, the local borough/district council is requested to take this matter up with the relevant company and/or the Traffic Commissioner, specifically if the agreements had been subject to an operators’ license.

To Highways England

13. HE to be asked what influence they could bring to bear on the problems caused by the use of satellite navigation systems for route planning in rural areas.

Recommendations: Specific to A515

2. The evidence submitted regarding noise on the A515 is qualified by the Council’s Noise Engineer.

3. That Cabinet Member give priority to undertaking the work described under ‘Further Considerations’ in the report Option Review report undertaken by Amey (Appendix 1) and a report be brought back to the Select Committee in six month’s time.

4. That the Cabinet Member facilitates discussion with local businesses in the A515 area and feeds back information to the Committee regarding the impact that a set route would have in the area if it was enforced.

5. Members asked to see any routing agreements and road safety assessments and details of cases where breaches of planning conditions relevant to developments near the A515 had taken place in the last three years.

8. The Local Police Commander is asked to share the views expressed by attendees at the Inquiry Days of alleged speeding and traffic offences along the A515, with his Local Policing Unit and take action where appropriate.

9. That the Cabinet Member investigates the installation of bollards or railings to prevent lorries mounting the pavement along parts of the A515.

10. That Council Officers work with staff and the governing body at Richard Crosse School to consider what road safety measures could be put in place to ensure that parents and children travelling to and from Richard Crosse Primary School do so safely.

11. That the Cabinet Member on behalf of the County Council write to MPs to ask for their support in obtaining funding for road improvements to the A38 and all major HGV priority routes across the County and for the project evaluating the suitability of diversion routes.

12. Members recommend that the Cabinet Member asks HE to ensure that a traffic management plan forms part of the Expressways concept.

16. That the Select Committee continues to include HS2 in its Work Programme and maintains an overview of this development, specifically its impact on the A515.

20. The County Council takes up the offer of discussions with Highways England regarding possible improvements along the A515.

24. That the Cabinet Member reports back to the Committee on the outcome of consideration of placing a weight restriction on Wood End Lane, taking account developments in regard to HS2.

 

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