Time to ban HGVs from Lanark?

Lanark town centre...should lorries be banned?
Lanark town centre...should lorries be banned?

In the wake of last week’s Fatal Accident Inquiry findings on the Christmas 2014 bin lorry tragedy, campaign group Living Streets has called for new restrictions on the use of heavy vehicles in town centres, including Lanark’s.

It has pointed to two earlier tragic examples of heavy vehicles passing through the town leading to pedestrian casualties.

These are the cases of 80-year-old Mary McCrae who died on June 4, 2007 in an accident involving an HGV on the junction of the narrow Wellgate with the High Street and what appeared to be a near identical fatal accident at the top of the High Street on May 14, 2009 when 82-year-old Joanna Frood lost her life.

The call for changes in regulations allowing heavy vehicles in town centres comes from Living Streets Scotland, an Edinburgh-based campaigning group, fighting for the rights of pedestrians in our increasingly traffic-choked towns and cities.

Although an independent report at the time cleared the Lanark traffic management system of any blame for the deaths of the two ladies, Living Streets’ spokesman Stuart Hay thinks it is time to look afresh at the issue.

Although the Fatal Accident Inquiry recommendations related specifically to bin lorry routes in Glasgow, and especially the timings of their operations to avoid busy pedestrian periods, Mr Hay thought there were more general lessons to be learned to keep people and heavy vehicles apart whenever and wherever possible

He said: “ A good starting point is looking at narrow streets such those in Lanark where their have been pedestrian deaths involving HGVs.”

The road safety issue apart, there have been repeated concerns expressed about the possible effect of pollution from heavy vehicles passing through narrow streets such as Lanark’s Wellgate.