Herts County Council allocates £120,000 to A507 weight restrictions

Two lorries passing side-by-side in Cottered, at the A507's narrowest point. The road is 5.1m wide,

Two lorries passing side-by-side in Cottered, at the A507's narrowest point. The road is 5.1m wide, and lorries are up to 2.55m wide each, not including wing mirrors. Campaigners say this makes dangerous pavement-mounting inevitable and frequent. Picture: Safer A507 Campaign - Credit: Archant

Funds have been allocated to stop HGVs using a country lane as a shortcut, as part of Herts County Council’s budget-setting process.

Residents say hundreds of lorries use the A507 – between Baldock and Buntingford – to get to Stansted Airport or to the eastern ports every day.

It is so narrow in places that two lorries, travelling in different directions, can’t pass each other, but that doesn’t seem to deter the drivers.

In September last year, the county council decided to go ahead with proposals to put a weight restriction on all or part of the A507, after residents had long been calling for action to be taken.

In making the decision, the county council’s Highways and Environment Cabinet Panel heard that an ‘automatic number plate recognition’ survey had shown 718 HGV journeys on the road within a 12-hour period. Results of the survey suggested 70 per cent of those journeys were by vehicles using the route as a shortcut.

Now documents published as part of the county council’s budget setting process show plans to allocate £120,000 to implementing the weight restriction during the financial year 2019/20.

“We hope to go ahead this year,” said the county council’s executive member for highways Councillor Phil Bibby. “At the end of the day the A507 is probably one of the worst A roads in the county.

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“The debate is now whether we have the restriction from Buntingford to Baldock or have the restriction localised on the area causing concern.

“We are very conscious of the concerns of the local residents, but this is not a simple issue.”

The allocation for the A507 is included in the county council’s 2019/20-2022/23 Integrated Plan, which sets out the local authority’s spending priorities for the next four years.

Overall the council will have to make savings of around £19million in the financial year 2019/20 to balance the books.

However, the Integrated Plan proposes funding for a number of highways projects, including improvements to the A602 between Stevenage and Ware.

The Freight Transport Association has previously indicated that it will object to any attempt to restrict access to the A507.