Now more than a year since the incident in Dobcross when a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) collided with a cottage and caused the Stephenson Memorial to come crashing down, Saddleworth’s Conservative Councillors have written to the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Baroness Vere, to ask whether the Government could consider finally outlawing the use of regular automobile Satellite Navigation systems by HGVs.
This appeal has previously been made by the Local Government Association, but the Borough & Parish Councillors have reissued the appeal on behalf of the people of Saddleworth, who have long been plagued by the problem of HGVs taking inappropriate routes.
Explaining the geographic, historic and cultural nature of Saddleworth to the Baroness they stated that locally, “villages have largely retained their traditional character, and much of the modern road network in Saddleworth does not and cannot accommodate HGVs.”
Last year, co-signatory Cllr Max Woodvine launched a petition on this issue which received hundreds of supporting signatures. The Dobcross representative said the ‘incident’ in the village, “...caused a great deal of distress and upset for those most directly affected, but also amongst the wider community. Whilst this example is the starkest recent demonstration of the problems HGVs can and do pose, it is not uncommon across our villages for roads to be congested or closed as a result of HGVs using them improperly, and for HGVs to be involved in more minor collisions with local infrastructure.”
Cllr Luke Lancaster also represents villages directly impacted by this issue, including Delph, which several years ago was brought to a standstill for many morning hours due to a stuck lorry. In contributing to the correspondence, he added: “In order to better address this problem we believe that making illegal the use of automobile Satellite Navigation systems by HGVs would be an effective intervention, welcomed by the vast majority of those who belong to semi-rural and rural communities across our country.”
The group of Conservative Councillors concluded: “These systems are not adequately equipped to inform HGV motorists, and by their nature are designed to advise vehicles of a far less considerable weight and size.”