A Lorry Management Zone (LMZ) in the Cotswolds will not bring any discernible benefit to local residents and will only result in greater inconvenience and higher costs for lorry operators, says leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The LMZ, launched today by Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), will ban vehicles above 7.5 tonnes from using a 164 square mile area between Cheltenham and Gloucester in the north and Cirencester and Stroud in the south.
Ian Gallagher, FTA's Policy Manager for the Southwest, said:
“FTA has warned throughout the consultation process that the LMZ would be a complete waste of time and money. Before the scheme, less than four HGVs used the A46 every hour – a relatively low volume for an 'A' road anyway. With exemptions, this will now be reduced to just over two trucks per hour. It hardly justifies the cost of new signage.
“Lorries will have to burn more fuel to travel around the banned area and this will mean greater costs to industry and the environment.”
FTA had identified other options with GCC that would have relieved the impact of night-time lorry movements. However, practical alternatives that would have mitigated residents' concerns over noise and air pollution were dismissed in favour of the LMZ.
Big questions remain about the practical application of the scheme.
“Quite how an under-resourced police constabulary can enforce HGV movements in this area is still unclear. We ask that the GCC review the scheme in six months and if, as we suspect, the negative impact outweighs the positive then serious consideration should be given to scrapping it for good.”