Wheels set in motion for ban on HGVs

The closure of Shandwick Place will divert traffic to surrounding streets
The closure of Shandwick Place will divert traffic to surrounding streets
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A LORRY ban for parts of the West End through the night is back on the agenda – after city leaders stepped in and suggested new cameras could be used to enforce it.

The Moray Feu Residents Association has been campaigning for years to stop traffic being diverted into residential areas when the tram is operational. But council officials released a report last week that said the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) ban “cannot be recommended” because police say it would have to be “self- enforcing” – and the council had no way of policing it.

However, city leaders have now asked officials to look at whether new cameras being introduced to the city’s bus lanes could be used as a means of enforcing an HGV ban.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “We would like the head of transport to go away and look at the use of automatic number plate technology or bus lane camera technology to enforce an HGV restriction for the Moray Feu overnight, and he will also look to see if it is technically and legally possible to do that.

“Having listened to the many hours of debate and consultation on the issues around Moray Feu, in some respects almost independent of the tram discussion, there is clearly an issue of large vehicles travelling over cobbled areas creating more noise overnight.

“During the day that is in the background to some extent but overnight it can be more disruptive and, while we have an alternative route with Shandwick Place open overnight, it seems reasonable to look at encouraging that alternative.”

Council officials revealed last week they will spend £290,000 on setting up a system of cameras to operate at “hotspots” where drivers break bus lane rules. Now officials will look at whether the same technology can be used to police an HGV ban.

Marshall Poulton, the council’s head of transport, said: “Since we last spoke [with police about an HGV ban], the technology has moved on with regard to using cameras to enforce HGV bans throughout the country.”

But the council will also need to find out if it is able to get the powers to enforce such a ban and hand out penalties – likely to be £60 fines – to lorry drivers who do not follow the rules.

Residents have previously dismissed claims that the ban could not be enforced by police and hope that even just putting up signs would reduce HGV traffic enough to stop it being a significant problem.

Alistair Laing, a member of the Moray Feu Residents Association, said: “The traffic used to travel through many commercial streets and if you put all that commercial traffic through residential areas in the West End and Moray Feu then they take all the nastiness – like 24/7 noise pollution and danger.

“They are moving forward in that they are now talking about signs and vehicle recognition, which is progress.

“Let’s see where we go from here. We’ve had four years of procrastination so it is time there is something done.”