The incoming president of the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) has called for the UK to consider banning HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) from its motorways on Sundays. Richard Hayes, who will become president of the IHE at its AGM tomorrow (June 29), wants the UK Roads Minister, Mike Penning, to request the Department of Transport (DfT) investigates the matter as part of its recently announced program for reforming the country’s strategic road network. The program aims to increase the quality and efficiency of the national network, offering a better service to motorists and business users.
As precedents, Hayes cites several mainland European Union countries, which impose restrictions on the times and days when heavy goods vehicles can be driven on public roads. France, Spain and Italy have a general ban on the movement of vehicles with a maximum gross weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes on Sundays and during public holidays. However, there is currently no general European standard, and there is a wide variation in: how long the restrictions last; when they start and finish; the types of vehicle covered; and exemptions from the restrictions. There are currently 462,300 HGVs registered in the UK, compared to 28.5 million cars and 3.2 million light vehicles, with 88% of domestic freight in the country moved by road.
Hayes said, “Restricting HGVs’ use of the road network on Sundays is commonplace throughout the rest of Europe and it is something I strongly believe we should consider introducing in the UK. Weekends should be a relaxing time on our roads, when the network is used mainly by the general public going about their leisure activities. Many drivers are intimidated by heavy lorries thundering up and down our motorways and major A roads. Surely it is not too much to ask that we take some of the tension out of the system for one day a week.”
28 June 2012
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