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HGVs in Bucks Villages

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HHV in country lane

A four-year action plan launched on Monday 19th June will look at how to manage lorry traffic across Buckinghamshire amid complaints over the impact of HGVs on small villages.

Bucks County Council's (BCC) new freight strategy was approved by Mark Shaw, deputy leader and transport cabinet member.

The project was launched a year ago after residents and parish councils raised concerns smaller country roads were unable to cope with the increasing amount of lorry traffic.

HGV hot-spots have been identified across the county, including Marlow Bridge, which was badly damaged by a lorry in 2016, and The Chalfonts — where sat-navs take freight through Jordan and Seer Greens towards the A40.

BCC's action plan will look in detail at the ways to solve lorry hotspot problems and better manage freight around the county's roads.

At the centre of the plan are proposals to set up freight focus groups in the county council's local area forum areas, taken from parishes community groups and businesses.

A priority is to appoint a freight officer to liaise between parishes, districts, businesses and county hall, and to manage focus groups — the first three of which will be set up in the Iver/Denham, Haddenham/Waddesdon and Wing/Ivinghoe areas in the coming few weeks.

Deputy transport cabinet member Paul Irwin, who is overseeing the action plan, said it was "vital the work that groups do help the county council to strike a balance between getting goods and services around the county efficiently, and the impact on roads and the environment".

He said: "It's a fine balance. We rely on lorries to bring in our food and drink, and take away the waste we produce.

"But we also have a responsibility to control the impact HGVs have on our roads and the environment."

BCC says around 17 per cent of lorries coming into Buckinghamshire deliver food and around 14 per cent of HGV movements are related to taking away waste from residents and businesses in the county.

The increase in online shopping — up 23 per cent in the past year — has also pushed up the number of delivery van miles by 46 per cent in the past 10 years and this trend is expected to continue, according to council officials.

Cllr Irwin added: "When it comes to freight management nothing stands.

"We're kidding ourselves if we think there's a fix-it-once-for-all solution, which is why our freight strategy is a live document.

"We want focus groups to highlight local issues to help us consider the trends and the changing nature of HGV movements, so we can take the right decisions in the future to balance the need for the efficient distribution of goods and services with the needs of Buckinghamshire's environment and residents.

"A huge number of residents and business people have helped get Buckinghamshire's freight strategy to where it is now, and I'm very grateful for their help"

Bucks Free Press, 19 June 2018