Row over delay in forcing HGV's off roads

A DECISION to delay putting a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) weight restriction on roads in Banwell and Burrington Coombe has been criticised by councillors and Weston's MP

A DECISION to delay putting a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) weight restriction on roads in Banwell and Burrington Coombe has been criticised by councillors and Weston's MP.North Somerset Council has been looking at ways to reduce the environmental effects of HGVs on the A368 through Banwell and the B3134 at Burrington Combe.The authority says it will not make any decisions until the end of July but Councillors Ann Harley, Tony Lake, Hugh Parsons and Liz Wells issued a joint statement criticising the delay, saying the weight limit should be imposed immediately.The statement said: "We are very disappointed at the delay in implementing an HGV limit for Burrington Combe. "The only outstanding issue is the extent of the area covered by the weight restriction because the wider the area, the less the impact on local businesses. "Burrington Combe must have the same protection as that given to Cheddar Gorge by Somerset County Council. After all the survey work carried out over recent years it is surprising that there is a need for more evidence. "The broken edges and damaged banks in Burrington Combe are evidence enough of the need for action rather than procrastination."Weston MP John Penrose said: "I am surprised to see the decision has been deferred. There is very strong support from people in Banwell, Sandford, Langford and Churchill who want fewer juggernauts thundering through their villages. I hope their wishes won't be dashed at the eleventh hour."If this delay is simply to give the council more time to improve the details of the scheme I think residents will understand. It might give the council the opportunity to extend the protection to villages like Blagdon."But if this is a smokescreen to delay the scheme indefinitely, or even cancel it altogether, then residents will be very angry." However North Somerset says it needs to gather more information from businesses, local interest groups and organisations to be able to make 'an informed decision'.It said it understood issues raised by residents and parish councils about the damage caused by lorries on roads but said it had a duty to consider the effect a weight restriction would have on businesses in the area.Councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: "Consideration is being given to the impact of HGV restrictions on sections of the A368 to the west of the Churchill crossing."We're carrying out consultations to see the feasibility of imposing a 7.5 tonne weight restriction on that section of the road."But we don't want to solve the problems in Banwell only to create a problem in other villages."Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: "The member of parliament has been kept fully informed of the highway authority's proposals regarding HGV movements in the Burrington and Banwell area. To resolve some of the traffic problems in the villages the council must ensure any decision made is based on reliable evidence.

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