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Green Party slams County Council on HGV ‘misery’ 

Green Party Councillors have criticised East Sussex County Council for failing to take action on rat running by HGVs, which they say is causing fear and misery for residents.

East Sussex County Council will consider a Green Party petition next week which calls for action on HGVs using villages and country roads as short cuts by introducing a ‘lorry route network’ to encourage HGVs onto A roads and away from villages, narrow streets, and residential areas. The petition was signed by 400 residents, including many from Ringmer, where the earlier launch of the petition saw more than 60 residents protesting on Ringmer village green and marching along the main road. 

The petition was also signed by residents living near the C7 and in Firle, Newhaven, Ditchling, Glynde, Barcombe and South Chailey.  It was submitted in March this year and is only now being considered.

Green Party Councillor and prospective Parliamentary Candidate Emily O’Brien said “Whilst we all support our local HGV drivers and welcome local deliveries, too many HGVs are using our villages and towns as a rat run to get to other places. This county council report admits that Ringmer alone sees 400 lorries a day. That’s an HVG charging through a residential road with scarily narrow pavements every 3.5 minutes. And the county council has only counted during working hours – in reality this is a major problem from the early hours of the morning. HGV rat running is damaging air quality, exacerbating our pothole crisis, and causing sheer misery for residents, yet where’s the action?”

Green Party County & District Councillor Johnny Denis said:  “We are pleased that in response to resident action and this petition, the county council have at least agreed to look at a new freight strategy which just may look at restricting HGVs on B roads. But it’s incredibly disappointing that there is not even a firm time commitment for making that decision. It’s taken over six months to consider this petition only to kick it into long grass. If the Conservative run county council really wanted to take this matter seriously they would be taking action now – and we urge the council to go much further and faster at next week’s meeting than the current report recommends.” 

The Green Party reported that an unusually high number of residents chose to leave comments in addition to signing the petition. They say that many petitioners shared a sense of fear and isolation, including older and disabled people, with one resident stating  “It feels so dangerous to walk up to the shops, the pavement is narrow and the lorries are big and travel very fast.” 

Several parents who responded reported the difficulty of taking buggies and children along narrow pavements and the impact on school journeys. One resident stated  “I live in a village where my children can’t walk along the main road to school safely due to the extreme amount of HGV traffic.  Instead, they are going a longer back route.”  

Many residents commented on the impact on their mental health with one saying “The constant rumble of traffic is detrimental to our health both physically and mentally. This problem must be addressed.”

The county council’s report states that there are a number of reasons for HGV traffic along B roads including the introduction of sat navs which may route traffic away from major roads especially when there is congestion elsewhere.  The Green Party suggested that high traffic levels on the A27 in particular is encouraging traffic to take back routes and pointed out that in a recent survey by Transport Focus, the  A27 was voted the worst major road in the country.

Notes

  1. For further info or to arrange an interview, Emily O’Brien, Green Party Councillor & Prospective Parliamentary Candidate – 0796980579

2. The petition can be viewed here – https://bit.ly/VillageHGVs. At time of presenting it had 402 signatures.

The wording is 

We call on East Sussex County Council to introduce a lorry route network similar to the one in West Sussex.

This is a network of suitable roads which all HGVs are expected to use, except for local access.

A lorry route network asks HGVs to take the best route, not just the shortest one, avoiding unsuitable, narrow and residential roads, and villages.”

3. Further resident quotes from the petition include the following:

  • Too many people’s lives are blighted by through traffic as it is – to have heavy goods vehicles trundle through local villages is disgusting and must be stopped. 
  • Not only the weight but also the speed of the HGV’s often exceeds the speed limit in the late evening and early hours of morning and even along bishops lane away from the main road the house shakes
  • We need to keep our roads safe from these lorries that “thunder” through villages
  • My house literally shakes when a lorry goes past.  Would be so nice to have them redirected to more appropriate routes.
  • It feels so dangerous to walk up to the shops, the pavement is narrow and the lorries are big and travel very fast.
  • As a regular cyclist trying to keep to B roads and whiter roads it’s important to get lorries to use a main road network
  • HGV traffic through many Sussex villages is both excessive in volume and frequently excessive speeds blighting the lives of all those who live in these roads, rarely is there any consideration from those driving.
  • It’s a huge problem in Ringmer there must be several hundred coming through the village everyday.
  • ESCC insist that all A and B roads are suitable for all HGV traffic, this implies that other roads including country lanes are not but fail to do anything to stop use of these so it is meaningless. They also fail to address any of the contributing factors such as speed and road surfaces which increase the impact of noise, pollution and damage on residents.
  • Lorries passing constantly cause noise day and night and the house to shake!
  • This I agree with there are to many lorries taking short cuts through small villages creating noise and speeding also breaking up roads that are not meant for HGV vehicles
  • I totally endorse the comments made about HGVs thundering through Ringmer Village at a dangerous pace in close proximity to pedestrians. Either these need to be re-routed or traffic calming measures should be introduced 
  • Lorries and alike not only make our houses rattle but they also come far too quickly. This is a lovely quiet village but the increasing volume of lorries is really causing havoc. 
  • So many large lorries that literally make the house shake. Starts early in the morning. Condition of road is poor making lorries bounce and make even more noise. Volume of traffic has certainly increased. 
  • Live in Firle village, we have a huge problem with tiny road access – no pedestrian footpath in some places and large HGVs
  • HGVs and other large vehicles should stick to main A roads
  • I live in a village where my children can’t walk along the main road to school safely due to the extreme amount of HGV traffic.  Instead they are going a longer back route to avoid the buffeting and dust created not to mention the Lorries pass through Ringmer from early in the morning till late at night which is particularly annoying for those properties with limited frontage to the road.
  • Too many HGV’s totally ignore the weight restriction signs through Glynde
  • HGV s and aggregate construction vehicles stop using our Village as a cut through. Most importantly narrow lanes where dangerous bends exist, these lanes are not designed to take heavy lorries also huge safety risk for pedestrians. Haulage companies please use A roads and not B roads, it takes no longer in fact quicker, construction companies support our village and save lives. 
  • The constant rumble of traffic is detrimental to our health both physically and mentally. This problem must be addressed. 
  • these lorries need to be stopped before someone gets killed
  • The number of HGVs that drive through Ringmer is astounding. They often travel too fast, the pavements are not wide enough for the children walking to the schools to feel safe and they are damaging the roads. 
  • We used to drive to school as I felt it was unsafe for my children to scoot or cycle or even walk along the main road. The lorries would go thundering past.