New lorry routes headache

From: David Hayes

Linden Avenue, S8

The implications of the hasty decision to change HGV routes in the Abbey Lane area now become easier to see (and hear).

Even during the normally quiet summer months, lorries are starting to queue at the traffic light junction to turn right up Chesterfield Road. Lorries coming down Chesterfield Road to turn right into Abbey Lane also contribute to traffic congestion.

So, after spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to improve bus flow times in the Woodseats area, we will now have further congestion, noise and air pollution.

And what additional impact on traffic flows will there be of increased pupil numbers at Abbey Lane School?

Lorries going over two sets of traffic-calming humps sometimes cause considerable noise that will affect the school and the nursery school opposite.

The decision to change the HGV routes was a highly political one by the previous Lib Dem council in spite of advice from professionals. It may have had majority support at a poorly-attended Community Assembly meeting but is this the best way to reorganise traffic flows that can have wide-reaching impacts?

The review of HGV routes by the new Labour administration is to be welcomed but in the meantime the HGV route signs should be covered over, so removing at once the ability to enforce any recent traffic orders.

But any HGV freight transport review ought to consider adopting a Freight Consolidation Centre. One opened in Bristol in 2004 has been so succesful in reducing HGV journeys in the city (and cutting air pollution and carbon emissions) that it has been extended to include Bath. It enables lorries to off-load deliveries on the edge of the city and reduce lorry mileage into the centre. Over 55 retailers have joined this service, resulting in a reduction in delivery movements of almost 80%.

If Bristol can implement such a scheme (and obtain EU funding too) why not Sheffield? Whilst not a direct solution for Abbey Lane, such a scheme could improve the quality of life in Sheffield.