New clampdown on lorries in Usk town centre
FURTHER action is being taken to cut the number of lorries using Usk as a shortcut, a problem which has plagued the town for around 30 years.
A new Lorry Watch scheme will report offending vehicles flouting the 7.5 tonne weight limit, except for access, on the A472.
Concerns about lorries travelling through the town’s narrow streets have been raised for many years by residents as it affects air quality.
Monmouthshire council adopted an air quality management plan for Bridge Street several years ago, aiming to reduce HGV traffic.
Ward member Cllr Brian Strong said there is more to the issue than it seems.
“The roads are so narrow in the town. When two HGVs meet, pedestrians are at risk and a number of people have been hit, luckily not injured. From a safety point of view this is very important,” he said.
Lorry Watch will involve training 20 volunteers in a partnership between Usk Town Council and Gwent Police, backed by Monmouthshire council.
Tony Freeman of consultancy and training firm APFUK, who has experience of similar schemes as a road traffic enforcement officer for Gloucestershire council, will lead the scheme.
Volunteers will be instructed to identify potentially offending vehicles and details passed on to APFUK will result in follow up letters to the appropriate company and possible prosecution.
In addition, Monmouthshire council is to consult upon a proposal to amend the existing traffic order.
If agreed, it is hoped it will make it simpler to manage access to the town.
Roger Hoggins, deputy chief officer of Regeneration and Culture, said the new scheme was a step in the right direction.
“The introduction of the air quality management plan focused attention upon the problem but even so it has proven difficult to find a solution that is effective and enforceable. Nevertheless members and officers are positive that the new initiatives will help to reduce the number of HGV’s travelling through the town,” he said.
Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for County Operations, Cllr Bryan Jones said the scheme has potential to make significant cuts to HGV traffic.