Hauliers oppose A12 lorry restrictions

A BID to bring forward a ban on HGVs using the outside lane on parts of the A12 between 6am and 8pm has come under fire from industry leaders.The Essex region of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the A12 Alliance - which was formed last year to improve the route and is made up of Essex and Suffolk county councils and other organisations - to bring the proposal forward to reduce congestion and speed traffic flow.

A BID to bring forward a ban on HGVs using the outside lane on parts of the A12 between 6am and 8pm has come under fire from industry leaders.

The Essex region of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the A12 Alliance - which was formed last year to improve the route and is made up of Essex and Suffolk county councils and other organisations - to bring the proposal forward to reduce congestion and speed traffic flow.

But the Road Haulage Association yesterday described the plan as “misguided”, and said it was penalising an industry which was, like other users, hit by road congestion.

The FSB suggests the first pilot stretches could be the Brentwood by-pass leading to the M25 and the A12 between Chelmsford and Witham including the Boreham interchange junction.


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Chairman of Essex FSB, Iain Wicks, said: “In its evidence to the A12 Inquiry last year Essex FSB argued that during peak day hours HGVs should be banned from using the outside lane of the A12 leaving that lane free for motorists to overtake.

“Many of the frustrations on the A12 are because HGVs - often with speed regulators fitted that prevent them exceeding 55mph - move in to the outside lane to over take another HGV going slightly slower than themselves and other vehicles then back up behind the overtaking lorry.

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“It can sometimes take as much as two miles for the overtaking manoeuvre to be completed which can lead to major tail backs and when the road ahead is clear again it is natural for motorists to then put their foot down to speed away.

“On the A14 there has been an experiment which we believe has been extremely successful which bans HGVs from the outside lane between 6am and 8pm for a considerable stretch of this dual carriageway and traffic flows much more smoothly as a result.”

But Martin Dean, area manager for Essex at the Road Haulage Association, said: “It's just yet another misguided initiative from people and you know too often the industry is penalised, again, through doing nothing wrong.

“They mention speed limiters. We have got the speed limiters there to comply with legislation.”

He added that the industry was under “enough pressure” with road tax and fuel duty.

“We spend thousands of pounds a year on our road tax and we get delayed in congestion as much as anyone else. Don't keep penalising the road haulage industry,” he said.

“I'm annoyed they think it's just a quick fix. I think everyone should realise if it was not for trucks, there would not be anything in the shops.”

He pointed out that such a ban took no account of on slip and off slip at junctions. By not being allowed to move over, lorries would have to slow right down, causing more problems to traffic flow.

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