Campaigners Calling For You to Have Your Say on County Council’s New Freight Plan

Campaigners who want to see an introduction of an environmental weight limit for Henley to stop HGVs using our town as a traffic corridor are very concerned about new proposals contained in the new Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) draft Local Connectivity and Transport Plan for 2035-2050. In particular they are concerned about the section “draft freight and logistics strategy.”

OCC’s proposal is to develop a county wide HGV route map by securing voluntary agreements with the Road Haulage and Logistics Associations.  However, voluntary agreements have not worked before, indeed OCC themselves acknowledge, “We published a lorry route map in the 2016 to show appropriate routes. However, we have learnt that FEW drivers and freight operators use individual local authority maps so the impact on route choice is limited.”  This map showed Henley as unsuitable for HGVs.  What will make this new route map different the campaign is asking? They think HGV drivers will continue to use Henley as a cut through from the M4 to the A34 as there would be nothing illegal stopping them.

In the Plan draft it states that where a voluntary agreement does not work then a protective environmental weight limit maybe necessary (although these will have to be self-funded by the areas concerned) but it also states that ”no weight limit will be considered where there is NOT a clear alternative route suitable for HGVs.”  Only 18t weight limits would be considered under the new strategy.  There is no alternative nearby route to cross the river as Marlow and Sonning are weight restricted and the alternatives would be a longer and more time consuming route through Reading for the drivers. Campaigners want these lorries to be forced to stay on the Strategic Road Network (M4, A34 or A404) where they belong.

There has been an increase of HGVs cutting through the town since the new distribution centres at Didcot and Wallingford were built.  So, another concern is that the Plan shows that the A4130 to these towns is designated as “a green link road to smaller towns”, but if Didcot and Wallingford are defined as smaller towns then the 44 tonne lorries from the likes of ASDA and Simpson Recycling would still be entitled to come through Henley.

HGVs not only cause damage to our pavements and roads, they endanger pedestrians, cause tailbacks/gridlock when they get stuck, vibration damage to our listed buildings and create air pollution above WHO guidelines.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  1. The campaign team would like residents to continue to send them photographs of HGV incidents and are looking to expand their team. If you have photos or would like to support or help the campaign email henleyhgvwatch@gmail.com
  2. Residents are encouraged to have their say by completing the survey on the new plan at https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ltcp (Question 7 select Freight and Logistics and you can comment on the strategy at Question 37.
  3. Additionally write to LTCP5@oxfordshire.gov.uk to reinforce your views would help (and if you would like to, please feel free to copy your letters to henleyhgvwatch@gmail.com)
  4.  The public can also air their views at a public webinars on 25 January and 7 February. To book on one of these webinars go to https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ltcp/survey_tools/ltcp-booking-form

The deadline for the consultation is 16 March 2022

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