The incoming president of the Institute of Highway Engineers risks the wrath of truckers - but may earn the adulation of weekend motorists - as he calls for the UK to consider banning HGVs from its motorways on Sundays.
Richard Hayes, who became president on Friday, wants the government to consider freeing Britain’s motorways of heavy freight vehicles on Sundays and will be writing to the roads minister Mike Penning to request the Department of Transport investigates the matter.
Looking for precedents, Hayes points across the English Channel to where several mainland European Union countries impose restrictions on the times and days when heavy goods vehicles can be driven on public roads.
France, Spain and Italy have a general ban on the movement of vehicles with a maximum gross weight of 7.5 tonnes on Sundays and during public holidays.
However, there is currently no general European standard, and there is a wide variation in how long the restrictions last, when they start and finish, the types of vehicle covered and exemptions from the restrictions.
“Restricting HGVs’ use of the road network on Sundays is commonplace throughout the rest of Europe and it is something I strongly believe we should consider introducing in the UK,” says Hayes.
“Weekends should be a relaxing time on our roads when the network is used mainly by the general public going about their leisure activities. Many drivers are intimidated by heavy lorries thundering up and down our motorways and major A roads. Surely it is not too much to ask that we take some of the tension out of the system for one day a week.”
The incoming IHE president believes that the issue of Sunday use of the road network by HGVs should be investigated as part of the Department of Transport’s recently announced programme for reforming the strategic road network. This programme aims to increase the quality and efficiency of the national network, offering a better service to motorists and business users.