Yesterday saw the county council’s transport strategy consultation road show visit Ely. I was far from being the only Sutton resident to drop in to The Lamb to speak to county council officers and see what they had to say.
There is much to absorb in the draft strategy, and I’m sure I’ll return to it here shortly, but the section of it that is the most immediately disappointing relates to heavy vehicles passing through villages.
The document rightly states that movement of freight is important to our economy, and predicts that freight traffic will quadruple by 2030. It recognises that the impact on our villages can include congestion, noise, and poor air quality, with effects on people’s quality of life, health, and well-being.
The strategy includes transferring more freight onto rail, which is fine. However, it then goes on to state that the county council will
continue to work with freight operators to promote the use of the most appropriate strategic routes for road freight
[give] freight companies information on appropriate routing when planning their journeys
[as part of planning agreements] work with operators to secure routing agreements to ensure freight operators are using the most appropriate routes for their journeys and minimising impacts on local communities, and
explore the use of faster broadband and improved ICT to improve freight efficiencies, logistics and fleet management
In other words, no change to the current, failed strategy which has seen heavy vehicles continue to pour through our villages to the detriment of residents’ quality of life. There is no mention of weight limits, restrictions or any other effective action to tackle the problem.
It is quite clear that the present arrangements aren’t working, and there is no evidence that continuing to do the same thing will have any different result. I’ll be arguing for a far stronger strategy to address this problem in my response to the consultation, and I would encourage fellow Sutton residents to do likewise.
The draft strategy document is available for download, and there’s a website to enable residents to respond online by the deadline of 11 July. It’s a document with a lot to say, about all forms of transport across the county, and I’ll be commenting on other issues in the weeks ahead.