The meeting will take place in Painswick Town Hall on Thursday the 25th September at 7.30 pm and chaired by Terry Parker, Chairman of Painswick Parish Council - David Drew hopes to attend along with two County Councillors and Highways Officers.
See my blog on the original petition here - a petition that was supported by many here in the Parish - plus also see my blog here about whether it will shift lorries elsewhere.
The good news is that the County have moved further on their Cotswold Freight Management Strategy - see here and here. It is estimated that with measures like signage that this will lead to a 30 to 40% drop in HGV through Painswick and Edge and a drop of 30% on the A4173 from Pitchcombe to Gloucester. See the first link re the Strategy for more info and attend the meeting for the latest info - I have another meeting that night so am disappointed not to be able to attend. For further info re the consultation contact Jeremy Callard at Aztec Transport Planning and Management, 260 Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol BS32 4SY.
30 to 40% reduction is indeed a good start and it is to be welcomed that the County are looking at this seriously - here are several issues that I hope will be covered by the meeting - I have sent them into the organisers:
1. I am very disappointed that the County strategy appears to make no mention of encouraging/supporting moving more freight onto the railways. I am aware of cross-party support and the County's vocal support for doubling the line but why no wider look at the issues of freight in this strategy?
2. While it looks clear from the Strategy that HGVs will not end up on smaller local roads I would welcome assurances that any HGVs diverted away from the A46 and A4173 will not impact on surrounding communities.
3. I would also welcome more details about how freight restrictions can be enforced better?
4. Lastly I am aware the County is looking at reducing unnecessary road signs - I hope therefore that care will be taken over siting of any additional signage to ensure the beauty and rural nature of the area is not spoiled by large warning signs?
Update 14/09/08 10.30pm
Cllr Stan Waddington has already emailed a reply - here is the jist of what he says:
1 This scheme is focussed on addressing the concerns of residents regarding lorries using inappropriate rural roads. Transferring freight from road to rail (and water) is a national issue, over which the County has limited influence. I believe it is estimated that the rail system could only cope with about 5% of HGV freight at most....2 It is an area ban which means that lorries making through journeys use one of the identified HGV routes. Experience in Leicestershire is that the displacement has in any event no discernable impact on the posted routes - because the HGV density is already high. 3 There have been many discussions with the Police on this and they have agreed to a scheme of enforcement which should considerably improve on current practice. 4 We were very conscious of the risk of this and have designed to minimise signing impact. Obviously there will be signs however!
I've got a figure of 12% for surface transport for rail - but still too low - however it would still be good if the County requested Government to take more action? Clearly if there was also more local procurement across the country that would also reduce freight - allegedly Tesco are embarrassed by the number of their lorries on the road so only about one in three have their logo?