Councils need more powers to fine ‘rogue’ lorry drivers

24 June 2015

Local councils across England want more power to clamp down on lorry drivers who ignore weight restrictions.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales, wants local authorities to be able to issue fines to ‘heavy haulage road rogues’, which it says are causing ‘bedlam’ in some villages.

Lorries of a certain weight or width are banned from many minor roads but the police do not always have the resources to enforce the restrictions, the LGA said. Local authorities in Wales and London already have powers to take action if lorry drivers break the law.

But the LGA says councils across the country must also be given the ability to enforce weight and width restrictions in their communities. The money collected from the fines could be used towards tackling the nation’s £12 billion pothole backlog, the LGA said.

Councils are already working with communities, organising lorry watch schemes, and working with freight and haulage companies to make sure lorries use the most suitable routes and roads.

It comes after leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling encouraged logistics operators and supermarkets to make sure drivers "do not just simply follow the sat-nav", and take a smart approach to planning during a debate in Parliament.

The LGA call comes as research shows accidents involving lorries are an increasing concern. They are now involved in more than half of fatal motorway accidents and one-in-five fatal accidents on A-roads, the organisation said.

LGA transport spokesman councillor Peter Box said: “There has been a spate of accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and bringing bedlam to small rural communities, and action must be taken immediately to curb this.

“Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers. If a community is being plagued by problems at an accident blackspot, councils should be able to respond to communities’ concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.

The Traffic Management Act 2004, provides for councils to be given the powers to enforce weight limits and width restrictions, but central government has not yet passed the necessary secondary legislation to bring it into force in England. The Welsh Government has done so and councils (and Transport for London) in the capital have powers.

Box said: “We would stress that most lorry drivers are reputable and drive responsibly. These powers would be targeted at the minority who do not follow the law. This is also about protecting the drivers’ safety as well as the safety of residents and other road users.”

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