A14 – HGV Diversion Disturbance for residents

A14 SignOur District Cllr Sue Ellington has received the following information with regard to the ongoing issues of HGV disturbance during overnight closures of the A14.

Taken from an email to SCDC Cllrs regarding A14 overnight closures  –  3rd August 2018

Dear All

Please send any complaints and evidence of impact on residents from HGV diversions due to the A14 night closures to Pam Hobson pam.hobson@thea14.com  The Highways England Project Director, David Bray, has asked for help in understanding the reality being lived by residents because the level of diversions being reported is not corroborated currently by the HE and A14 night traffic monitoring methods.

I have been in conversations with Sue, Anna, Eileen and others regarding noise and diversion disturbance of HGVs and cars that are driving through villages in the early hours of the morning, not following the diversion signs put up by Highways England. Several of your villages have sent in videos and complaints to you as Members, and various facebook pages have been set up to focus specifically on complaints about the disturbance, distress, sleep deprivation and concern about vibration impact on housing along narrow roads unfit for this level of traffic. Many of you know about the ongoing dialogue that has been initiated through SCDC (copied here) and myself with Highways England,  the A14 Delivery Team and the residents from Histon, Impington and Orchard Park (organised into the A14 Action Group) which is focussed on holding HE to account regarding the use of Best Practice for noise mitigation, communications and engagement around nightworks, and the longer-term issue of air pollution. There is now a regular forum at which all are represented and a series of working groups have just been established. Girton residents, through the Parish Council, have been invited to take part. Milton residents are also welcome, now that the nightworks are impacting on residents. Residents have met with Lucy Fraser, MP, to request her support which she is giving through follow-up with the HE Project Director.

Meanwhile, on the issue of diversions, this has not been a major focus for residents of Histon & Impington, although it is a key issue for Orchard Park. SCDC has raised this with County and also with an A14 Liaison Group between local authorities and the A14 Delivery Team. Meanwhile, City residents met with Daniel Zeichner, MP, who raised the issue in Parliament. The HE Project Director, David Bray, was called to Westminster to brief the Secretary of State for Transport in order to answer the MP’s questions. The conflict with residents over the nightworks, tree-felling, noise and air pollution has come as a result in part of i) a failure with community engagement prior to and during the works (which we are now trying to address) and ii) lack of understanding of the realities of residents in preparation, data-gathering and perhaps the modelling. The impact of diversions is one such case. The data that HE is gathering regarding the level of traffic at night-time does not reflect the complaints that are being raised from several villages. David Bray would, therefore, like to be able to understand better the reality that is being experienced/perceived by residents. As the MP, Daniel Zeichner, noted in his speech, there could have been better data-gathering beforehand to predict this situation; and there could definitely be better inter-institutional governance to deal with a situation to which the response is always: “diversion signs are up; it is difficult to enforce; it is not illegal for drivers to not obey the signs and to follow alternative routes shown by their SATNAVs”

However, pressure and escalation of the issue is having some impact. David Bray, the HE Project Director, has been in touch with me to request that any information that Members may have from residents regarding the impact of the diversions by HGVs and cars late at night/early morning when the A14 is closed from works (and is clearly a result of A14 and not other road closures) – whether it be video, audio recordings or testimonials, complaints etc – please send to Pam Hobson: pam.hobson@thea14.com  David Bray hopes that, with better understanding of the realities of both sides, conflict around the issue of diversions can be avoided and practical measures put in place where necessary, and residents can have the right level of information to be prepared for some necessary disturbance.

Please do let me know if you have contacted Pam Hobson. Also, please forward this email to any other SCDC Members for whom it may be relevant.

Best wishes
Cllr Pippa Heylings, Ward Cllr for Histon, Impington & Orchard Park

Climate & Environment Advisory Committee

South Cambridgeshire District Council