Council orders signs for Merlin Way HGV ban!
Dale Heenan “I am pleased to let local residents know that Swindon Borough Council has approved plans for a weight restriction along Merlin Way which will ban HGV’s from using the road. The road signs have been ordered so we just need to wait for them to be delivered and installed by the road.
Reading through the history of the campaign, I didn’t realise just how much work and effort had been put into it. This campaign has been going on for seven years, and was an issue before I was the local Councillor for the area in 2004 so its great to have this one ticked off.”
History of Merlin Way Weight Limit to ban HGV
22nd October 2013, Labour deliver leaflet to the residents of Covingham and Dorcan saying local Conservative Councillors have “lost interest”, and claim credit for Merlin Way
4th October 2013, Merlin Way weight restriction is agreed to go ahead and Swindon Borough Council order signs for implementing the Merlin Way weight restriction traffic regulation order
September 23rd 2013, Dale Heenan obtains results of resident consultation on the Merlin Way weight restriction and no Covingham residents object.
September 2013, Dale Heenan supports Highways department, and writes follow up letter to Highways Agency to get from them on agreeing new signage on A419 sliproad
August 2013, Labour Councillor Julian Price approves plan for traffic to be diverted along Covingham Drive. Dale Heenan disagrees and Highways department agree Oxford road.
August 2013, formal consultation started by Swindon Borough Council on the traffic regulation order
July 2013, details of weight restriction traffic regulation order discussed at Covingham Parish Council, with their support agreed.
June 2013, funding identified by Dale Heenan, and agreed by two fellow ward councillors to cover cost of the weight restriction traffic regulation order
May 2013, Highways departments agrees to Dale Heenan’s request to proceed with a weight restriction traffic regulation order
March 2013, residents of Lorry watch is submitted to Swindon Borough Council Highways department as evidence for a weight restriction traffic regulation order
October 2012, Presentation by Swindon Borough Council to Covingham Parish Council on traffic surveys, and start of Lorry Watch training
July 2012, Covingham Parish Council agrees to help organise a group of residents to undertake Lorry watch on Merlin Way
June 2012, discussions being with Covingham Parish Council about Lorry watch
February 2012, after 12 months of lobbying by Dale Heenan, a Community Speed watch could be turned into a Lorry Watch scheme to help provide evidence for a weight restriction TRO on Merlin Way
February 2012, Dale Heenan discovers that a Traffic Regulation Order has been in operation on Wanborough Road since 1978!
“between the junction of Merlin Way and Kingfisher Drive, along the remainder of Merlin Way all the way along the Wanborough Road to High Street Wanborough; and beyond to the Shepherd’s Rest junction (and in the reverse direction). This TRO prohibits all motor vehicles from using this section of road other than to gain access to properties adjacent to it or on adjoining roads. Therefore, any Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGVs – goods vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum gross weight) seen proceeding along Merlin Way beyond its junction with Kingfisher Drive should only be one that is servicing roadside properties e.g. Ridgeway Farm and is thus exempt from the conditions of the TRO.”
In Swindon, all TROs, other than those relating to No Waiting or Parking, can only be enforced by the Police.
January 2012, Government announces a change in the law about Lorries travelling through residential areas from April 2012, and summit with the Lorry industry and SatNav Manufacturers in March 2012.
Official written question submitted the Cabinet Member for Council Transformation, Sustainability, Strategic Planning and Transport on Swindon Borough Council:
Could the Cabinet Member for Council Transformation, Sustainability, Strategic Planning and Transport:
1) Please set out the steps the Borough is already taking to ensure commercial satnavs avoid directing lorries down residential roads?
2) Ask the Highways officers to prepare a submission on how forthcoming new powers may be applied in Swindon to both keep lorries off residential roads and ensure that commercial vehicles can reach their business destinations efficiently?
The Cabinet Member has responded:
Thank you for your questions. The Council recognises the vital role of the road haulage industry in delivering goods and services around the Borough and the importance of the road haulage and distribution sector as a major local employer contributing to the continued economic success of the Borough.
The Council also recognises the need to limit any adverse environmental impacts on local communities as a result of lorry movements on inappropriate roads as well as the need to protect the structures of low or weak bridges from damage by large vehicles.
Council Officers carry out a number of measures to manage freight movements on Swindon’s roads. These include:
Providing HGV directional signing linking the strategic road network and main industrial sites. Examples of this include the signing for Dorcan and Elgin Industrial Estates.
Taking part in on-going discussions with members of the Wilts & Swindon Freight Quality Partnership on freight-related matters. This includes actively discouraging use of domestic satnavs in goods vehicles and promoting industry recognised alternatives.
Operational Network Management activities including establishment and maintenance of a freight route map which links Swindon’s strategic road network to the main industrial sites in the Borough and development of a Freight Parking Strategy that identifies secure parking facilities available to HGV drivers that reduce use of residential streets.
In the event that Officers receive reports of commercial vehicles using residential roads a number of actions may be taken, which include;
Contact with the relevant Operator(s) and a request made for drivers to use the strategic road network where possible rather than residential roads.
Traffic surveys may be conducted to quantify the extent of problem and identify the offending Operator(s).
Subject to the volume of HGV’s using the residential road and the existence of an alternative route to their destinations, appropriate signs may be erected to deter HGV’s using the unsuitable route.
Feedback information to the National Gazetteer with regard to inappropriate use of routes by HGV’s.
In extreme circumstances consideration may be given to the introduction of a weight limit.
The new approach is due to be introduced in April and I am looking forward to Council Officers briefing me on the full background on this issue once the Department for Transport provide detailed guidance on the changes later this year; and following the ‘Satnav Summit’ in March 2012. This summit is due to be attended by ITS-UK, the umbrella body representing intelligent transport systems industry and ADEPT (the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transportation)
Subject to the final outcomes of the Government’s review, Officers will be able to;
Review Swindon’s network hierarchy and where necessary make use of new road classification responsibilities from April 2012 to make sure roads are appropriately classified to suit their use by various vehicle types e.g. HGV’s.
Use new authorised signs where appropriate to discourage use of certain routes by HGV’s.
Keep track of proposed improvements and take forward new opportunities as appropriate.
2011, With the continued local concern and the date of the last survey, Dale Heenan asked for another traffic survey to be carried out on the number of lorries, and their reason for being on merlin way/in Covingham to establish evidence for a weight restriction on Merlin Way.
2008, Dale Heenan asked the Director of Transport at Swindon Borough Council about how to prevent lorries turning off the A419 and driving along Merlin Way into Covingham, banning Lorries and if there this anything possible with SatNav companies about their routing.
A further traffic survey in 2008 confirmed that the HGV flow on Merlin Way had remained very low. 58 HGVs used Merlin Way in a 24 hour period with the majority of these (46) having an origin or destination at or beyond Wanborough – a breach of the restriction that already exists on Wanborough Road. A further 20 vehicles recorded in a 24 hour period had an origin or destination within Covingham and given this low number, the benefit of introducing a Prohibition of HGVs would be limited because exemptions have to be made for HGVs for access or for loading
2005, Dale Heenan secures signs being erected to direct HGVs along Oxford Road away from Covingham. The traffic surveys carried out following this work showed that the number of HGVs passing through Covingham had reduced.