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Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: Now that the responsibility for this section of road rests with Essex County Council, it is for them to promote any improvements for the road. The County Council have submitted bids within their 1998-99 Transport Policy Programme (TPP) for carriageway maintenance on two sections of the road. The first is for improvements to the westbound carriageway between Southend Borough boundary and Rayleigh Weir and the second section is from Rayleigh Weir to the A.130 at Fairglen. These bids will be considered along with all the others received from all local highway authorities and a decision will be given when the announcement on the local transport settlement is made in December.

A scheme to improve the A.127 between M.25 and Rayleigh was withdrawn from the national road programme following the previous government's review of the programme in November 1995.

Lorry Weighbridge Data

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Hayman: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Vehicle Inspectorate Agency, Mr. Ron Oliver, to write to my noble friend.

Letter to Lord Berkeley from the Chief Executive of the Vehicle Inspectorate, Mr. R. J. Oliver, dated 15 October 1997.

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking for the following details about each lorry weighbridge currently operational for checking weights of lorries entering the United Kingdom from the Continent:

    (a) the location and name of the facility owner;

    (b) the organisation responsible for its operation;

    (c) the number of lorries checked in the last 12 months;

    (d) the number of lorries found to be overweight;

    (e) the number of successful prosecutions for overweight lorries.

The information shown in Table 1 below relates to weighing checks carried out by Vehicle Inspectorate staff during 1996/97 at weighbridge sites located solely at ports. A high proportion of international traffic is also checked at weighbridge sites on major internal routes and Table 2 contains details of weighing checks carried out at sites located on primary routes from ports. Weighing is also carried out by the police and local authority trading standards departments but we do not have detailed figures for their work at these weighbridges.

Whilst our current information system lists all vehicle weighings, it is not always possible to identify locations in every case and any unattributed weighings have not been included in the figures provided in the tables. As a result, the figures shown are underestimates and should be considered in the context of national figures for heavy goods vehicle weighings by the Vehicle Inspectorate during 1996/97, which resulted in 5,287 vehicles, out of 78,502 vehicles weighed, being prohibited from continuing on their journey until their loads had been adjusted to meet legal requirements. Upgrading of our information system over the coming year should enable weighbridge data to be broken down in a more detailed way.

Site specific information about prosecutions is not held, and we are therefore unable to supply details of successful prosecutions for overweight lorries resulting

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from individual checks. During 1996/97 there were 4,422 convictions for overloading of foreign and UK vehicles. The inspectorate's policy is to prosecute only where the degree of overload is considerable. Prosecutions are not always possible in cases where overweight vehicles are checked at ports as in these instances the vehicle may not be in use on a public road. Prohibitions can be issued regardless of the location of a vehicle weighing and provide an effective sanction, as they cause operators considerable inconvenience and cost whilst they adjust loads to comply with the legal requirements.

You also asked for information about lorry weighbridges previously used for checking overweight lorries arriving from the Continent which have ceased regular operation in the last 12 months. No weighbridges used by the inspectorate for this purpose have ceased regular operation in the last 12 months. Nor are we aware of the closure of any other weighbridges that we do not currently use.

Table 1

Location/Owner Organisation responsible for operation Number of vehicles weighed(1)Number of overweight vehicles prohibited
A5 Holyhead/Welsh OfficeVehicle Inspectorate on behalf of DETR71276
Poole Docks/Poole Harbour Authorityas above684104
Portsmouth Docks/Portsmouth CCas above1,219101
Southampton/Norman OfferNorman Offer37242
Ramsgate/Ramsgate Port AuthorityRamsgate Port Authority25721
Felixstowe Docks/Felixstowe Dock & Railway CompanyVehicle Inspectorate on behalf of DETR2,330210
King George Dock, Hull/Association of British Portsas above2,049195

(1) This figure includes a small proportion of light goods vehicles and passenger vehicles.

Table 2

Location/Owner PortOrganisation responsible for operationNumber of vehicles weighed(2)Number of overweight vehicles prohibited
A75 Castle Kennedy/Scottish OfficeStranraer/CairnryanVehicle Inspectorate on behalf of DETR61945
A40 Narberth/Welsh OfficeFishguard/Pembrokeas above89179
A2 Boughton/DETRDover/Folkestone/ Ramsgateas above45949
A26 Beddingham/East Sussex CCNewhavenEast Sussex CC48819

(2) This figure includes a small proportion of light goods vehicles and passenger vehicles.

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