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Action needed now on HGVs

An HGV stuck in a country lane
An HGV stuck in a country lane

Calls for more action to deal with the problem of HGVs on country roads is growing.

Both a Boughton Monchelsea villager and a Women’s Institute claim problems are on the increase as highway chiefs consider a solution.

According to Barry Boulton, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for The Quarries area of Boughton Monchelsea, there is a growing problem with HGVs using the narrow Bottlescrew Hill, which has some sharp bends and a 7.5 tonne weight limit.

“About two years ago, I was asked where possible to make a note of the numbers of lorries ignoring the weight restriction and to pass them on to the police,” he said. “This I have done and I know that PC Stuart Thomas has written to a number of firms warning them not to repeat the offence.”

But he said the problem remained, complicated by that fact that by the time HGV drivers confronted weight restrictions it was too late to turn back.

He said he recently came across a stationary HGV at the junction of Boughton Lane with Bottlescrew Hill. The driver was unwilling to go past the 7.5 tonne ban, but was unable to tun around or reverse safely back the way he had come.

Mr Boulton helped divert the driver down the narrow Cliff Hill Road where he was able to turn around using the T-junction with Cliff Hill.

Mr Boulton said better signs would help.

“I’ve been trying to get Kent Highways to do something for at least 10 months,” he said. “ It wasn’t until I wrote to the chief executive that I even got a response.


“Eventually an officer came out to see me. I showed him where the former quarry face was crumbling away because of the weight of the HGVs using the road, I suggested where extra signs would be helpful.

“He was a lovely chap, very friendly and polite. He agreed that something had to be done. That was December 13 and nothing has happened since.”

In East Peckham, concerned WI members have submitted a motion on the subject to this year’s national conference.

Spokeswoman Beryl Knight said; “We are in the Garden of England, surrounded by farms. But we have seen a huge rise in the number of lorries, particularly forgein lorries on our roads. Cyclists, pedestrians and buggy-pushers are put at risk by these huge lorries passing at speed. It’s affecting our day-today lives.

She said while the WI appreciated the need for a free market across the EU, the “price is too high.

“Our historic buildings are crumbling and bridges built to take ox and cart are being constantly damaged by 44-tonne lorries.

“When we investigated the subject we found that the number of HGVs passing through Dover alone had increased from 1,602,863 in 1997 to 2,334,598 in 2006.”

Cllr Roger Manning, (Con) chairman of KCC’s Highways Advisory Board said HGVs on Kent’s rural roads were “a problem for the whole county”. “That’s why we are producing a freight strategy for Kent and updating the designated lorry routes map, as well as engaging with satellite navigation companies about the routes they include.

“We recognise that there has been some really good work on this done by the county council in Leicestershire. This was shared with our councillors serving the Maidstone area earlier this year and we have an open mind about it.

“We will be talking to Leicestershire, the Freight Transport Association and also looking at other examples of good practice.

“We have every sympathy with local communities who are suffering because of heavy lorry traffic, but this is very complex. What we don’t want to do is shift their problems on to their neighbours.”

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