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Buckinghamshire County Council works towards new freight transport strategy

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Paul Irwin (centre) discusses the issues with Mike Smith & Paul Hirons from Buckingham Town Council; Avril Davies County Councillor for Ivinghoe; John Knox from Quainton Parish Council and Ian Whipp from Newton Longville Parish Council.

On Monday 13th February 2017 community leaders from across the Buckinghamshire took part in a special summit to discuss minimising the impact of freight travelling through Buckinghamshire.

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 County Council’s existing freight strategy originally published in 2010.

In Buckinghamshire the proportion of freight on the roads tends to be highest outside of the peak hours. On some roads freight accounts for up to 20% of all road traffic with 23% of HGVs in the country are carrying food and beverages.

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.

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 freight strategy is expected to be finalised in 2018.

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