Keeping Suffolk’s villages safe with Lorry Watch

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Two new Lorry Watch schemes have launched aimed at reducing the number of HGV drivers ignoring weight restrictions on the county’s roads.

The villages of Fornham All Saints (near Bury St Edmunds) and Barnham (near Thetford) join nine other similar schemes across Suffolk, set up in conjunction with 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.

The existing 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.

Local residents in Fornham All Saints and Barnham have been noticing HGV drivers regularly ignoring weight restrictions and wanted to do something about it.

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.

“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 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.

If drivers from the same haulage company are being reported, that firm will receive advice on training their staff. The offence remains with the driver unless the haulage firm has caused the offence. Trading Standards can enforce weight restriction orders under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

If you are interested in joining Lorry Watch in an area which HGVs are abusing a weight restriction, contact lorrywatch@suffolk.gov.uk or 01473 264859 (option A).