Police Issue No Tickets for Restricted or Prohibited Vehicles in Dunstable in 2019


HGV 7.5 tonne limits are the shaded areas.


By Alan D Winter

Bedfordshire Police did not record any incidences of tickets issued for using a prohibited vehicle on a road subject to a restriction or prohibition in the Dunstable area in 2019 (*see FOI below).

In response to perceptions by some Dunstable residents that Police do not prosecute drivers for the offence of driving overweight vehicles through their town without good reason, I put a Freedom of Information Request into Bedfordshire Police.

It's important to understand a couple of things. Firstly where access is and isn't permitted, and what the exceptions are.


  • The Public Notice for the Houghton Regis / Dunstable area is found here.
  • The Weight Restriction Order for Houghton Regis is found here.
  • The Weight Restriction Order for East Dunstable is found here.
  • The Weight Restriction Order for villages surrounding Dunstable is found here.
  • The colour-coded zone map showing restricted areas in and around Dunstable is found here.

In Houghton Regis, most roads have restrictions, except for Houghton Road from High Street North, Dunstable to Morrisons. The restricted zone incorporates previous weight restrictions covering the Tithe Farm and Parkside areas.  HGVs over 7.5 tonnes are prohibited from using roads in the zone identified as through routes:



In Dunstable, the weight restriction zone does not include specific routes to commercial areas, including the A505 Luton Road and Boscombe Road to Woodside Industrial Estate. The restricted zone does incorporate weight restrictions that previously covered the Capron Road/Olma Road, North-west Quadrant area, Court Drive area, Kingsway area, South-east Quadrant area and South-west Quadrant area:




Outside of the two towns, the shaded pink areas have had weight restrictions since 2018; the blue areas already had weight restrictions:
See bigger picture (pdf)

Exceptions

Some HGVs are permitted to enter the coloured zones. These include such things as emergency vehicles, loading and unloading, and for other reasons  Here's the full list of exceptions:


History

The Central Bedfordshire Council points out that a series of 7.5 tonne weight limits in three zones have been brought in, in recent years, with the aim of improving life for residents in towns and villages currently experiencing high volumes of HGV through-traffic. For Dunstable, these HGVs are rerouted away from the former A5 that ran through the centre of Dunstable (High Street North and High Street South) to the A5 dual carriageway to and from the M1 at junction 11a, and via the Woodside Industrial estate and from there via Boscombe Road and Dunstable Road to the M1 Junction 11.

Some local roads have been reclassified. The A5 through Dunstable has become the A5183 and A5120 has become the B5120.

The Council say they have worked with major HGV companies across the UK such as ASDA, Amazon, Tesco and Eddie Stobart, and that signage has been erected across Central Bedfordshire.

In January 2018 Dunstable News Desk pointed out that signs had been put on the B489 towards Dunstable and at the foot of Dunstable Downs but they were placed at points along the road where drivers had no opportunity to turn around.  ( see story )


In February 2018, CBC uploaded this video to YouTube showing HGV drivers being informed of the new rules.


In May 2018, CBC issued a press release claiming that, “Sixteen more lorry drivers have been fined for flouting the local weight limits in Central Bedfordshire. They were caught out during an enforcement day on Friday 11 May, when Highways Officers and Trading Standard Officers from Central Bedfordshire Council teamed up with the police to enforce the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) restrictions in Dunstable and the surrounding areas.” ( see story )


Freedom of Information


Here's the question I posed -

Q. How many prosecutions has  Bedfordshire Police prepared of vehicles exceeding the 7.5 tonnes weight limit zones within the past 5 years? Please can the supplied figures be broken down by town, and by the following category:

1. Those arising from Police checks
2. Those arising from Central Bedfordshire Council reports 
3. Reports submitted by members of the public

This request is raised particularly with the Dunstable area in mind to address concerns raised by the public, so if time and cost limits apply, I would be satisfied with just the Houghton Regis/ Luton / Dunstable figures.

A. The response dated 15th April 2020:
“RESPONSE - Following enquiries conducted by Bedfordshire Police and the Cameras, Tickets & Collisions Unit within the Force please see our response below: -

“We do not hold the information exactly as the requester would like.

“Bedfordshire Police’s fixed penalty ticket system records the offence requested as - Use a prohibited vehicle on a road subject to a restriction / prohibition.

“This offence does not have to relate to weight, where it does the weight is not specified as it is the same recorded offence.

“The figures provided below are for the number of tickets issued by police officers, we cannot tell if they arose from a council or member of the public report.

“Our system records make of vehicle but does not require the model to be captured and so we are unable to tell what a vehicle is, for example if the manufacturer makes several forms of vehicles, like Mercedes, who make motorcycles, cars, vans and lorries.”

The response then gives a table of results for 2015-2019.  In the table of recorded tickets issued, Bedfordshire Police could not report that ANY tickets were issued in 2019 in the Dunstable area, 3 for Luton. For 2018 25 tickets were issued relating to offences in Dunstable.










Source:

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