Lorry route plan review in Suffolk

The technical and community led review of lorry routes that considers new strategic roads, new Lorry Watch areas and Air Quality Management Areas in Suffolk.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs has announced a review of the county’s Lorry Route Plan.

The plan was last reviewed in 2011 and since then there have been a number of changes across Suffolk including new strategic roads, new Lorry Watch areas and Air Quality Management Areas.

The review will involve two parts and will update and validate the County Council’s existing routes.

Technical review

The technical review is currently taking place and is a strategic technical review. This'll look at all the data and evidence including:

  • collision records and traffic data
  • Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for weight, width and height restrictions
  • the resilient road network and its strategic road network diversions as well as GPS data – origin, destination and route and the locations of building strikes
  • public complaints
  • data from Lorry Watch schemes

Community led review

The community led review will seek views of Parish and Town Councils about their local issues and intelligence.

Information will be gathered by a survey sent to all of Suffolk’s Parish and Town Councils and their County Councillor will then be asked to endorse and prioritise the key issues for their area.


Share your views

Member of the public or a business who wish to give feedback on HGV movements across Suffolk, need to contact their parish or town council who'll are collating responses.


Timescales

The review is due to be completed in 2021.

The review is taking longer than expected due to COVID-19. It is important we assess traffic levels in normal times and identify the impact the pandemic is having on traffic. Also, many of the county council’s resources including officer time are having to be focused elsewhere as we try to restart and recover from COVID-19.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The last review was done in 2011 (minor review in 2017), since then:

  • new roads have been built
  • there are new significant housing and retail/business developments in the county
  • we have air quality areas
  • environmental constraints may have been added or changed
  • we have records of accidents and building/structure strikes
  • there has been community feedback on the current network We also have no lorry route mapping for Ipswich at the moment

It will look at the current approved county lorry network and take into account changes since the last review. Whilst in many cases approved routes may not be able to be changed (due to the lack of suitable alternatives) there may be some physical changes possible to address some of the current issues.

Lorries and HGVs are an important factor in the economy of the county. They support rural businesses and jobs as well as hubs such as the Port of Felixstowe and A14 corridor based businesses. By having a lorry route network the County Council aims to facilitate this business.

The technical review underway however the programme has been impacted by Covid-19, the community review via parish and town councils will be launched in Summer 2021.

We need time to consider the technical information, and the pattern of traffic has changed considerably through Covid-19 and this will give time for traffic to have the opportunity to stabilise. The community review forms an important part of the overall review and will inform its subsequent direction. It will help to assess the use of the network across the whole county.

It’s likely that not all concerns can be addressed through the review. We are also planning to deliver a better mapping tool to view the current lorry route network, to assist the community review.

View the Lorry Route Map.

No. There is no statutory duty to publish a recommended HGV network map and having one does not prohibit HGVs from using other roads. Traffic Regulation Orders may be used to restrict the use of roads considered unsuitable for HGVs

The Lorry Watch scheme gives further information on the current active lorry watch schemes. Lorry Watch schemes can only be used where there is a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in place giving a weight restriction.

You can do this using the Highways Reporting Tool by visiting Report an incident with a heavy goods vehicle.

Planning decisions are taken by the district and borough councils as the local planning authority. Suffolk County Council as the Highway Authority is consulted.

We can not apply wholesale restrictions on HGVs or other traffic from using the highway network unless there is a valid reason to do so. For example, a Traffic Regulation Order could be considered:

  • if a bridge were to be structurally unsound due to weight of vehicles using it
  • or if there are environmental reasons to do so
  • and an alternative route is available for those vehicles

The displacement of traffic must also be considered to ensure that a localised problem is not just moved from one location to another or inadvertently creates a new problem. Any restrictions will always have some exemptions for example agricultural traffic and deliveries and access to businesses.

It should be noted that there is currently no budget to introduce any new TROs. A TRO costs in the region of £10,000 to implement and in addition to the cost they must have the support of the local County Councillor, the Police and have a public and business consultation.