Lorry Watch schemes open in Fornham All Saints and Barnham
- Credit: Archant
Lorry Watch schemes aimed at tackling HGV drivers ignoring weight restrictions have been launched in two west Suffolk villages.
The villages of Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds, and Barnham, near Thetford, have joined nine other similar schemes set up by Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards and Suffolk Highways.
Suffolk's Lorry Watch started in 2012 and to date has reported nearly 3,000 incidents of HGV vehicles exceeding weight limits, where clearly marked restriction signs are in place.
Volunteers monitor their area and report suspected offenders to trading standards, who then contact the vehicle owners.
The schemes have been a great success with only four repeat offenders being issued with a warning, meaning that drivers are taking notice when they are first contacted.
Residents in Fornham All Saints and Barnham had complained HGV drivers were regularly ignoring weight restrictions and wanted to do something about it.
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Councillor Richard Rout, cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said: "Lorry Watch has proved highly effective in reducing the number of HGVs travelling through restricted areas.
"I'm grateful to the volunteers who report potential offenders to us, so that we can do our best to make sure our local communities and highways are kept safe.
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"I would encourage anyone with concerns about HGVs ignoring restrictions in their community, to get in touch and consider a Lorry Watch scheme or find out more about our recently launched Community Self Help Scheme."
Weight restriction orders are in place to protect old or weak structures, as well as to prohibit heavy vehicles from areas unsuitable for their size.
The orders make it an offence to drive a vehicle through the restricted area where the vehicle exceeds the weight limit imposed unless they are exempt, for example when delivering or collecting within the restriction zone.
Lorry Watch schemes already take place in Beccles, Bungay, Claydon, Coddenham, Hadleigh, Holton, Leiston, Palgrave and Sproughton.
Anyone interested in joining a Lorry Watch scheme should contact email@example.com or 01473 264859.