Ivinghoe area freight engagement
Village communities in the Ivinghoe area of east Buckinghamshire (east of the A418 and north of the A41) say their lives are being negatively affected by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) passing through.
They’re concerned about the effect on their homes and on other buildings in the area, and there are concerns about road safety and air quality.
Feedback from residents on the effects of the volume of HGVs ranges from ‘when a lorry goes by, my pictures fall off the wall’ to ‘I’m really concerned for our precious historic buildings’.
Following a detailed review of vehicles travelling in the Ivinghoe area, it is apparent that a proportion of HGVs is merely passing through (rat-running through unsuitable roads); therefore have no reason to be there. In a sample week at the beginning of November 2019, 254 vehicles, 47% of the total HGVs in the identified zone were identified as through traffic.
Based on monitoring over the past couple of years and feedback from local communities, we have identified the Ivinghoe freight zone as a priority for action on HGV traffic.
Addressing the problem
A solution is consequently required to removing unnecessary through-traffic whilst ensuring that local business can continue to operate (with buses, farm traffic and public service access retained).
A solution needs to take into account the following important factors;
- We want to reduce the impact of HGV traffic on residents, buildings and the environment
- We need to minimise unnecessary traffic on local roads
- HGVs need access to homes and businesses within the zone
- HGVs driving through the zone need to be redirected to more appropriate routes
- We need to support local business to thrive, including farms, shops, pubs and restaurants
Buckinghamshire’s freight strategy
With the county facing unprecedented levels of growth, there is a need to effectively manage the movement of freight in a way which supports the economy whilst protecting the local environment and communities. In order to help achieve this, Our Freight Strategy was established, covering the period from 2018 to 2036.
The Strategy’s aim and objectives are as follows:
- Aim: Freight transport should continue to help Buckinghamshire grow, thrive and develop. Freight should move around the county as efficiently as possible, without imposing inappropriate costs on business, consumers, residents or our unique environment.
- Objective 1: Appropriate road use – encourage haulage operators to use the right routes, at the right times.
- Objective 2: Protecting our environment – preserve the county’s unique characteristics in both rural and urban areas, whilst minimising pollution.
- Objective 3: Partnership working – support collaboration amongst key stakeholders to develop new solutions to freight issues.
- Objective 4: Consider freight in decision making – Seek opportunities to work with partners to minimise the impact of freight and lobby for improvements.
An area based approach
The Countywide Freight Strategy recognises the need to allow access of HGVs to support local businesses, whilst managing impact on residents and the environment. In order to help ensure HGV through-traffic is directed along appropriate strategic routes and that only necessary journeys occur on the local network (i.e. for access to business parks, farms, deliveries etc.), an area-based approach has been investigated for managing freight movements. The intention is that HGVs will be forced to use the most suitable roads in the area (such as A and B roads) with the local road network only being used by those accessing for deliveries, business etc.
The Ivinghoe area is one of five locations identified for intervention through the adopted Countywide Freight Strategy, based upon initial analysis work and comments from local communities regarding volumes of HGVs. This area will be used as a pilot for replicating a similar approach within other affected areas across the county.
The Ivinghoe Freight Proposal Map shows the zone where a 7.5tonne weight restriction would be applied, giving access for local needs.
To help ensure that HGVs keep to the most appropriate routes (i.e. the main A and B roads), the proposal is to introduce an area-wide 7.5 tonne environmental weight limit so that HGVs will only be permitted to only use the local network for access. This will help to reduce local impacts by removing unnecessary through-traffic whilst ensuring that local business can continue to operate (with buses, farm traffic and public service access retained).
Impacts and benefits
The Ivinghoe Freight Traffic Flows map outlines the current levels of HGVs travelling in/out of the main access points across the area without stopping (therefore have no need to be there). This helps to indicate the levels of HGVs which should be removed from the local network due to the proposed environmental weight limit.
This will consequently lead to an increase of HGVs using the surrounding A and B roads, however this will be minimal compared to existing traffic levels on these busier strategic routes.
With cooperation and support from transport management colleagues in Hertfordshire County Council we are promoting use of the B488 in the south of the area, it being a better route for HGVs than the current route on the B489.
Potential number of additional HGVs per DAY
Potential number of additional HGVs per WEEK
We have also liaised with Central Bedfordshire Council who have reviewed the proposal; we will be working with them on advance signage on the key A4146 and A505 routes.
Why isn’t a total HGV ban being considered?...
We rejected the idea of imposing a total HGV ban throughout the Ivinghoe freight zone. We think it would inconvenience more local residents and businesses than it would help.
For example, all but the smallest minibuses weigh more than 7.5 tonnes laden, and a total ban would seriously disrupt the bus and coach services on which school children and local residents and workers rely.
Many goods deliveries come in lorries that are over 7.5 tonnes, and a total ban would severely restrict supplies to local shops, pubs, restaurants and farms, and disrupt some home deliveries.
- Prevents HGV traffic on local roads altogether
- Addresses concerns of local residents
- Diverts all HGVs to more appropriate routes
- Lower emissions and improved air quality; reduced risk of damage, vibration and noise.
- Severely affects local business operations & costs
- Some bus services may need to be suspended
- Disruption to home and business deliveries
- Emergency services, resident and road council services negatively impacted.
- Puts at risk the jobs of many residents employed locally.
How will the proposal be enforced?...
Enforcement of certain moving traffic offences like the breach of a Traffic Regulation Order is the responsibility of the Police and the Trading Standards, as a local authority we have no powers to enforce. In today’s economic and social climate they are having to focus resources on offences against the person, such as doorstop fraud and protecting the vulnerable.
During our work with Central Bedfordshire Council we investigated their approach of proactively engaging with haulage and truck operators to alert them to pending weight restrictions and the promotion of more suitable routes. Results from this supportive approach suggests that up to 80% of traffic not servicing the local area left the zone without the need for prosecution.
We are looking to adopt a similar approach here using the local communities to get actively involved and support.
For further key questions and answers, please see the Frequently Asked Questions
Our assessment… but what did you think?
We have assessed that, on balance, the area-based Freight Zone approach will help to ease the local issues whilst ensuring local access can continue.
Early in 2020 we undertook a programme of public engagement on proposals for an Ivinghoe Area Freight Zone. The purpose of the zone is to address local issues with HGV traffic. We ran a public survey and held drop-in events in Ivinghoe and Wing. We also had discussions with local businesses, groups and organisations.
We received 332 responses to the public survey and the main findings were:
- 70% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal and 23% disagreed or strongly disagreed.
- 72% of respondents expressed a preference for the proposal to apply a 7.5 tonne ‘freight zone’ with an exception for local access
- 12% of respondents suggested an alternate way forward including:
- extending the zone to cover Wing minor and side roads and including the B440 and villages on the route (14 suggestions)
- Improving the A418 and/or building a bypass for Wing (9 suggestions)
- Other suggestions e.g. delaying the zone, enforcement actions and excluding Marsworth airfield from local access
Please see the full Ivinghoe area freight engagement report.
What happens next?
On the basis of the feedback we’ve received, we are planning to finalise the proposal early in 2021. We will create the necessary Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and hold a statutory public consultation. The consultation is a final opportunity to comment on the detail of the zone. Subject to consultation feedback, we expect the Ivinghoe Area Freight Zone will be in effect by the spring of 2021.
Ivinghoe canal (Brownlow) bridge
Brownlow Bridge on the B488 north of Ivinghoe spans the Grand Union Canal. It is a listed bridge, more than 200 years old and is owned and maintained by the Canal & River Trust (C&RT). As the highway authority, we are responsible for maintaining the highway elements of the bridge. The bridge has been used to carry HGVs of up to 40 tonnes (T) weight for many years.
Following a detailed structural assessment undertaken by the C&RT, it was deemed that the bridge was no longer capable of carrying 40T loads and the C&RT recommended an 18T weight limit. Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) subsequently introduced a temporary 18T restriction on the bridge in May 2019 so that further investigatory work could be completed, in parallel with the development of the Freight Zone proposal, so that the final decision on the permanent solution for the bridge could be well informed and fit with the wider strategy.
The bridge is now due to be repaired in order to allow HGVs (over 18T) to access the local area. The proposed zonal environmental limit will cover the bridge, thereby discouraging HGV through-traffic in the area.
- Repair and strengthen the bridge following a structural review
- Temporary 18 tonne weight restriction until the work is done in autumn 2020
- Ecological surveys through the breeding season to check for bat activity
- Ground radar survey of the bridge deck to help advance the design of the strengthening work
- Structural inspections to be more frequent to check the bridge condition doesn’t get weaker
- Cost of repairs and strengthening work £100,000