This comes as the Highways Agency launches a pilot traffic scheme banning lorries from overtaking on a busy three- mile stretch of the M42. Stephen Kelly, head of policy for the Midlands division of the Freight Transport Association, said although the Highways Agency had not yet suggested a national roll-out of the scheme, he feared it was a preamble to wider bans. “What if you were to get an abnormal load travelling at 10 to 20 miles an hour? There would be terrible queues. Drivers are restricted by the number of hours they can be on the road. If they’re delayed, it means missed deliveries.”
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury also condemned the scheme, saying it would have a detrimental effect on supply chain efficiency. “It should be looked at more holistically with a much greater relaxation for retailers to deliver at night.”
The ban, which applies to vehicles of more than 7.5 tonnes travelling on the M42 between junctions 10 and 11, comes into force on Monday (October 10). It is based on recommendations from the National Audit Office, which cited The Netherlands’ example - where overtaking bans have increased road capacity by 4% by restricting travel on 1,000 miles of roads.
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said it would review the 18-month M42 trial ban after six months. If there was considerable opposition, it could be lifted early.