NEW SURVEY: Efforts continue to reduce HGV traffic through Barnard Castle
NEW SURVEY: Efforts continue to reduce HGV traffic through Barnard Castle

ANOTHER traffic survey is to be carried out as efforts continue to find ways to reduce the number of HGVs trundling through the centre of Barnard Castle.

Members of the Barnard Castle HGV Action Group are campaigning for a permit scheme, similar to that in place at Kirkby Stephen, after an initial study suggested most HGVs simply use the town as a through route.

Highways officials at Durham County Council have now agreed to a second, more detailed survey.

Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager, said: “We have been asked to quantify the proportion of HGVs that travel from the A66 to destinations further afield, such as West Auckland and beyond.

“To do this we have to undertake a further survey of HGVs in and around the town centre.”

He added: “We will be commissioning an additional survey, which is likely to take place in the coming weeks. As travel patterns can be influenced by adverse weather, we will select a date when conditions are not expected to be outside of the norm.

“Once the results of the survey are known we will consider any suggestions put forward by the local action group.”

The campaign group, which was set up two years ago, continues to seek support for the introduction of a permit scheme which would allow local operators and those delivering goods into the town but divert others onto the A66, A1 and A68.

Updating members at this month’s Barnard Castle Town Council meeting, Cllr Judi Sutherland, a member of the action group, said a meeting had been held with five of the six Teesdale county representatives to seek their support for the permit scheme.

She added that a second HGV survey would provide further evidence in support of the group’s efforts.

Late last year, the action group met hauliers based in and around the town to outline their ideas and while no fundamental objections were raised, operators said they wanted to know more about how a permit scheme would work. The action group pledged to work with the hauliers and keep them informed of developments.

All involved in the issue agree that the best solution would be a bypass and new Tees bridge, but while a corridor of interest has been earmarked in the draft County Durham Plan, there is little likelihood of a Barnard Castle relief road being constructed in the near future.

By contrast, it is estimated that a permit scheme would cost about £35,000 to set up and £500 to administer.

The Kirkby Stephen scheme was introduced in 2000 and has been judged a success.

Local operators and those delivering goods to the town are allowed in, while those heading to and from the M6 are diverted along the A66 to Penrith rather than through Kirkby Stephen to Tebay.