Special summit to address freight impact fears

Freight consultation taking place, organised by BCC
Freight consultation taking place, organised by BCC

Minimising the impact of freight travelling through Buckinghamshire was the subject of a special summit which brought together community leaders from across the county on February 13

Organised by Buckinghamshire County Council, the debate focused on the key issues that directly affect local communities from lorries and trains carrying freight. These included noise, road safety, damage to roads, lorry routing and congestion.

The session, marked the start of the process to refresh the Council’s existing freight strategy originally published in 2010.

Workshop chairman and the County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, Paul Irwin said things like the growth in online shopping and the continuing success of Buckinghamshire’s business economy meant it was the right time to refresh the current strategy.

“More than ever, we are having to cope with the impact of freight transport in the county and the challenges it places on our infrastructure and quality of life.

“This session was all about fact finding and listening directly to the views of our local communities. We covered a range of potential solutions from weight restrictions on roads to better sat-nav technology to help HGV drivers.

I was also grateful for the input from the Freight Transport Association and FCC Environment who both shared some of their positive experiences of managing the impact of freight from a trade perspective.

“Our task now is to build on all these ideas and open up a wider discussion with industry and other authorities to help shape the development of our new strategy going forward.

Paul added, “We’ve got a long way to go yet and it won’t be a quick fix but I am determined to get the best possible protection for our local communities, while balancing the needs of the freight industry.”

The new strategy is expected to be finalised in 2018.