Freight in bus lanes plan for Norwich

A select group of lorries heading into Norwich will be allowed to use a bus-cycle lane during the rush hour as part of a move to cut freight deliveries into the city.

A select group of lorries heading into Norwich will be allowed to use a bus-cycle lane during the rush hour as part of a move to cut freight deliveries into the city.

Members of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee yesterday backed plans to allow 40-tonne HGVs operating as part of a new freight consolidation centre to use the bus and cycle lane in Newmarket Road.

Based off the A11 in Snetterton, the scheme is a tie-up between Norfolk County Council and Foulger Transport aimed at encouraguing firms, who would normally deliver direct into Norwich to place loads on to low emission vehicles for delivery into the city instead.

The new six-month experiment would permit Foulger lorries to use the bus-cycle lane in Newmarket Road and the route through Castle Meadow and Red Lion Street during the morning and evening peak periods.


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Feedback from the experiment will be monitored as part of a consultation to gauge how successful it has been.

But there were fears that cyclists could be placed in danger by sharing road space with lorries, and anger that other road users had not been asked their views in advance.

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City Lib Dem councillor Judith Lubbock, said she could not support the scheme because of the risk to cyclists.

“I think it's very worrying that this scheme will go ahead without any (prior) consultation with those who are most vulnerable,” she said. “I will be lobbying the cyclists in my area to take part in the consultation and say no.”

Green councillor Rupert Read said, although he backed moves to cut freight movements in and out of the city, the committee should look again at introducing a 30mph speed limit on Newmarket Road because of the increased risk of accidents. And he said there should be a voluntary code of conduct drawn up to ensure the scheme ran smoothly.

Tory councillor Eve Collishaw said she was concerned that the lorries would hold up the buses.

But Labour councillor Brian Morrey backed the plans.

“This is the first step to try and reduce the number of goods vehicles coming into the city, as an experiment it's a step forward and you never know how anything works until you put it on the agenda and find out,” he said.

Tory county councillor Adrian Gunson said the experiment was a “wonderful opportunity”.

“Anything we can do to try and encourage lorries to shift (to the freight consolidation centre) must be worth trying,” he said. “If the only cost is that bus lanes are shared with cyclists I think that's a very small cost for a very large benefit.”

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