Bath lorry ban attacked by Highways Agency
A plan to divert lorries away from the centre of Bath has come under fierce criticism from the Highways Agency and two neighbouring local authorities.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is planning to put an 18-tonne weight limit on the junction between Bathwick St and Beckford Road for a trial period as part of a proposal to reduce congestion and pollution.
However, Wiltshire and Somerset councils are concerned that this will see an increase in traffic through their towns and villages, so have written to the Department of Transport (DfT) to put a halt on the scheme.
They, along with the Highways Agency, have argued that B&NES has not been following the proper procedures and that for the ban to be implemented, the council would need the agreement of the affected authorities.
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In a letter to the transport secretary Justine Greening, the trio appealed for her to intervene, saying that communication between the parties had broken down.
Despite the criticism over the plans, B&NES has stood by the proposal, saying it is in the best interests of the people of Bath.
It has also denied that it has been obstructive to other interested agencies, but that, on the contrary, it has held numerous meetings with representatives from Wiltshire Council.
A spokesman said: “HGVs travelling through Bath has been a concern for many years, particularly along A4 London Road and A36 Bathwick Street.
“Local residents are concerned about the contribution made by HGVs to poor air quality, road safety issues and intimidation experienced by vulnerable road users within the Bath World Heritage Site.
“This proposal (the weight restriction) will reduce the contribution that HGVs make towards poor air quality in an air quality management area, congestion and intimidation by traffic.”
He emphasised the fact that this was initially for a trial period only and that the impact on alternative routes would be monitored before a decision was taken whether to make the ban permanent.