Call for A12 lorry ban

SMALL businesses in Essex have called for a ban on lorries on parts of the A12 using the outside lane for overtaking.

Roddy Ashworth

SMALL businesses in Essex have called for a ban on lorries on parts of the A12 using the outside lane for overtaking.

But the proposal, which was originally mooted during last year's public inquiry into the notorious road, was yesterday criticised by one Essex haulier who said he thought it would increase congestion rather than lessen it.

The Essex Federation of Small Businesses is urging the A12 Alliance to bring in a ban on HGVs using the outside lane of the A12 between 6am and 8pm to reduce congestion and speed traffic flow.


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And it recommended the first pilot stretches could be the section of the A12 between Chelmsford and Witham - including the Boreham interchange junction - and from the Brentwood by-pass leading to the M25.

The A12 Alliance was formed last year to try and help improve the road and is made up of both Essex and Suffolk county councils and other organisations such as the RAC and the emergency services.

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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.

“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.

“We want to see that experiment now applied to the A12 and we have asked the A12 Alliance to move forward with that proposal so we can see what impact it would have on congested stretches of the A12.”

But yesterday Kevin Read, director of logistics at hauliers firm Hamblion Transport, said: “I am not sure it would be commercially viable because some of those stretches are only dual carriageway.

“It would mean that all HGVs would have to travel at the speed of the slowest, and I think that would push all other vehicles into the outside lane, creating as much congestion as there would be anyway

“It might be viable for very short and busy periods such as rush hour, between 7am and 9am, but otherwise I don't think it would work.”

However, in his report following the A12 Inquiry, Sir David Rowlands recommended that one stretch - between Chelmsford and Witham - should carry a ban on HGV's overtaking.

Yesterday, chairman of the A12 Alliance, Norman Hume, said: “The alliance has been looking at the introduction of HGV overtaking bans and is keen to implement the recommendations of Sir David's report.

“This is an issue which all major dual carriageways face and it causes a lot of congestion and delays.”

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