Calls to stop HGVs using ‘unsuitable and residential roads’ across Lewes district

Lewes councillors have backed calls to restrict HGV traffic following a full council debate. On Monday (November 21), Lewes District Council backed a motion from Green Party councillor Emily O'Brien, intended to address concerns around HGVs using "unsuitable and residential roads." Cllr O'Brien said her motivation for motion came as a result of issues in her council ward of Ringmer.

She said: "According to a survey in May this year, nearly 600 HGVs were recorded driving through Ringmer every day, just between the hours of 7am to 7pm. That's a huge number for a village and it's not just limited to the hours of that survey.

Ringmer residents concerned at the amount of HGV traffic driving through the villageRingmer residents concerned at the amount of HGV traffic driving through the villageRingmer residents concerned at the amount of HGV traffic driving through the village

"Residents who live on or near the main road and the affect roads, have talked to me about the misery of being woken over and over again at 5am, by the thundering of HGVs, and the effect it's having on their mental health. "Older and disabled residents tell me they are afraid to walk along several of the roads because of the amount of traffic, particularly the large heavy traffic, and our really tiny narrow pavements. People with small kids don't feel able to walk them to school as well, so it is affecting all ages"

"It is not just Ringmer. I bet there are loads of us in this room who, in our wards, are experiencing this problem. It is a problem in villages and towns across the district."

The motion called on the council to do three things, firstly writing to the government expressing support for requiring HGVs to use commercial satnavs, which route to avoid unsuitable roads. It also called on LDC to write to East Sussex County Council expressing support for it to introduce a strategic lorry route network, which would recommend appropriate routes for HGV drivers. Finally, it called on the council to introduce new planning rules, which would require developers to set out how they would route construction traffic away from residential roads.

These last two parts saw criticisms raised by Conservative councillors, who argued the measures would be impractical and declined to support the motion. Conservative group leader Isabelle Linington said: "We fully support the use of commercial satnavs and I think if you could put that motion as just a standalone motion we would support it. It makes perfect sense and I can't see how anybody would not support that.

"The problem I have is with the other two points, which I don't feel I can support as they are. I did look into the strategic lorry route network and the West Sussex one and it is very good. "But if you look at East Sussex our roads are rather different.

We don't have the same level of good A-roads. I just don't see how that sort of strategic network would work in East Sussex." She added: "On the planning one; again it sounds good in theory, but how does it work in practice?

We have lots of smaller roads here.

If you've got building going on, the lorries have to get there somehow, so it is inevitable the lorries are going to have to use smaller roads."

While not supported by Conservatives, the motion still passed on a majority vote.