As you may recall that due to the TRO audit and moratorium we had planned to start the Statutory Consultation phase of the Ivinghoe Area Freight Strategy mid-late February. I wanted to bring you up to speed on where we are.
Part of the identified freight zone covered an area that falls within the Hertfordshire County. During the project we, of course, kept officers from Herts CC engaged, taking time to consult with them in the ‘informal engagement’ phase and keeping them in the loop since. In planning the Statutory Consultation phase we are required to advertise in local press the Traffic Regulation Order that provides the 7.5 tonne weight restriction with access by exception. To be able to do this we needed legal authority from Herts CC, unfortunately this was not been given in time to allow us to move into the Statutory Consultation at this time. In normal circumstances this would not be a problem and the consultation would be simply delayed until the authority was given, this year we have to consider the planned local elections in May. We are not able to run the consultation for the minimum amount of time prior to Purdah which starts on March 22nd, and as you can appreciate it is not appropriate to conduct the consultation during the Purdah period.
However, had we been able to get the Statutory Consultation in prior to Purdah we would still have had to wait until after the election and for Cabinet Member approvals once the appointment of Cabinet had taken place. This would have given a potential ‘green-light’ for implementation around the middle of June.
Not being able to start the Consultation until just after the election effectively means we would have this complete and be in a position to take the proposal to Cabinet Member for approval around mid-June and hopefully be able to look at implementation near the end of June / beginning of July, losing around 2-3 weeks only had we been able to get the Consultation started in February.
I appreciate that delays are not something any of us would like to see; that there is great support within the communities for the Freight Strategy to be implemented at the earliest opportunity; and to see unwanted Heavy Goods Vehicles taken out of the area. My colleagues and I will continue to strive to make this happen as soon as we possibly can, subject of course, to there being no insurmountable objections during the Statutory Consultation. I am aware that we have seen an increase in HGV movements around the area, these may have something to do with construction projects nearby however, once allowed, I will try and get out to investigate.
I would appreciate it if you could filter this message into your communities, using your newsletters, websites and excellent networks to provide them with this latest information.
With Kind regards
Graham Hillary CMILT
Transport Strategy Officer (Freight)
Strategic Transport & Infrastructure
Planning, Growth & Sustainability