In a recent press release from the Freight Transport Association ( FTA ), they revealed how they endorse and welcome the announcement of the decision by the Department for Transport (DfT) to overturn the proposed turning ban on heavy lorries using the Grade II-listed Cleveland Bridge in Bath. The confirmation that the DfT had upheld the appeal by Wiltshire Council, Somerset Council and The Highways Agency was received as good news to the FTA who had provided written support to the appeal on behalf of its members. After due consideration the DfT saw the process that Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) had put in place was not robust and evidential and subsequently the appeal was up-held saying an alternative scheme had to be found.
B&NES Council had wanted to impose an 18-tonne turning restriction on the A36 which would have taken the road out of the primary route network. The ban would have effectively stopped lorries using the A46-A4-A36 trunk roads to access Southampton, Dorset and south Wiltshire from the M4. The B&NES proposal had meant that that HGVs would have to use local roads resulting in a detour for the vehicles of 45 miles.
In an article titled, Bath loses fight to ban lorries from Cleveland Bridge from the BBC News online Somerset page, a spokesman for the DfT said: The suggested turning ban would turn Bath into a surprise dead-end for hundreds of lorries. Unless the proposals include proper through-routes for all types of traffic, they will have serious costs for local businesses and surrounding communities. Therefore we have asked Bath & North East Somerset council to work with its neighbours to find a better alternative.
In the press release, Ian Gallagher, FTA Policy Manager South West & Wales said: FTA is pleased to see that common sense has prevailed by the DfT over what we considered is a half-hearted attempt by Bath & North East Somerset to disrupt the primary route network in the South West based on weak information at best .
Gallagher added: This decision is a clear statement from government which reinforces the importance of the primary route network; firstly as a route with national importance and should not therefore, be looked at in isolation on a local level.
For further information, please visit the FTA website here.