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A13 lay-bys closed to save having to clean them

On September 13, 2017, in A13, Highways England, by PeterSilverman
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The 6 lay-bys shown on this map  have all  been closed by the either Highways England or Thurrock Council in the last year or so.

Both bodies had previously failed to comply with their statutory duty to keep them clear of litter.

I believe they were closed simply to save having to clean them with no genuine consideration being given to the needs of HGV drivers who used these facilities to rest and recuperate.


 

Lay-by 1 in January 2015 taken from this video by Your Thurrock

Closed by Highways England in 2015

 

 

Lay-by 2  on 14th October 2106 taken from this video

Closed by Highways England in January 2017

 

 

Lay-by 6 on 14th October 2016

Closed by Thurrock Council February 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay-bys 3, 4 & 5 on the A1089, the approach road to Tilbury Docks were closed by Highways England in late 2016 / early 2017 but only after a lorry park had been opened near the south end of the road.

Background history

When I became aware of the closure of lay-by 2 I wrote to Nick Harris, HE’s Operations Director on 15th Dec 2016 saying

“Can Connect Plus close these lay-bys without your approval?  Can you put a stop on this while the full implications are considered?”

As no response was forthcoming I wrote to Philip Rutnam, the then Permanent Secretary at the DfT, with a copy to Nick Harris, on 1st March 2017 saying: Can you please tell me what process has to be gone through before a lay-by can be closed down and was it adhered to in this case and who made the decision?

I received a reply on 27th March 2017 from the DfT in which they wrote:

Closures of the laybys were approved by Highways England, Essex Police and Thurrock Council as the decision to close the lay-bys was seen as the only option in which to combat the high levels of waste and fly tipping that was occurring. The risk to Public Health due to human waste being deposited in the lay-bys and the miss-use of the lay-bys as an unauthorised lorry park, had led to safety concerns for the travelling public.

Consideration was given to alternative welfare areas and it was the view of both Highways England and Thurrock Council that there was ample provision, via the many service areas and truck stops situated within Thurrock.

The closure of lay-bys is seen as the last resort and would only be considered if no alternative course of action was seen as having an effect and only where there are alternative arrangements for welfare.

The implication was that the closures had been approved by the DfT.  However when I made an information request for copies the relevant documents, I was told that”The DfT does not hold this information“.

I then came across this article on the Borough of Thurrock web site. They had decided to close lay-by 6.  This section of the A13 is not part of the HE network and responsibility for maintenance  and cleansing lies with Thurrock.

Cllr Brian Little, Highways and Transport Portfolio Holder at Thurrock Counci is quoted as saying: “We should not have to ask our teams to clear up – at tax payer expense – the sorts of things that can be left in these places and nor should we as a council provide places for people to trade without paying tax or rent, whether they are licensed or not

It looks to me that both HE and Thurrock decided to close the three  A13 lay-bys because they could not be bothered to comply with their statutory duty to keep them clean.

There is no indication that any genuine consideration was given to the loss of these valuable resources for potentially tired long-distance HGV driverss who cannot merely drive off  at a junction and park in a side street.

Read previous posts on A13 lay-bys

Truckers Toilets: GOING TO POT: Why lay-bys are turning into ‘waste’ lands

 

Peter Silverman
15th September  2017

 

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