Bath and North East Somerset Council has come under fire for incompetence after being told to go back to the drawing board and work with neighbouring local authorities on plans for an HGV weight limit in Bath.
The Department for Transport has rejected plans for an 18 tonne weight limit on the A36 in the city following an appeal lodged against the plans by neighbouring Wiltshire and Somerset Councils.
In explaining the reasons for its decision, the DfT’s letter is critical of Lib Dem-run B&NES for not reaching prior agreement with its neighbouring authorities or attempting to find an alternative route for HGV traffic. The department urges B&NES to work Wiltshire and Somerset Councils to agree a scheme which would be acceptable to all parties.
Conservative councillors, who have campaigned for the weight limit, have slammed the authority’s ruling Liberal Democrat Cabinet for mishandling proposal and failing to gain the necessary support from neighbouring Councils, who would be affected by the proposals.
Conservative Group Deputy Leader Cllr Anthony Clarke (Lansdown) said:
“B&NES was repeatedly warned that it needed to seek agreement with neighbouring Councils before implementing a weight limit on a major A-road, but the Lib Dems chose to ignore these warnings. As a result of this incompetence, long-awaited plans for an HGV ban through Bath are in tatters.
“The Department for Transport has made it clear that it cannot agree to a weight limit on the A36 until B&NES works with Wiltshire and Somerset Councils to agree an appropriate alternative route for HGVs. This clearly did not happen, despite assurances that the necessary consultation took place.
“Unfortunately, the Lib Dems have completely mishandled the whole process and antagonised relationships with neighbouring councils when their support is needed. B&NES needs to go back to the drawing board to see what can be salvaged from this mess and try and secure agreement so that an HGV weight limit can still go ahead.”