New rules for better traffic on county roads

New powers to be given to Lincolnshire County Council over how roads appear on maps and satnav systems aim to help direct traffic better on county roads.

The Government proposed devolving decision-making to councils as they are best-placed to decide the classification of local roads.

This would help them make clear to drivers which roads are most suitable for through-journeys, potentially reducing congestion on local routes.

At present, if a council wants to change the classification of one of its roads it has to be approved by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Local and Regional Transport Minister Norman Baker said the system currently in use dates back to the 1960s:

“[Councils] can ensure A roads are placed where they want traffic to run, and can lower the category of road in places they want traffic to avoid.

“By making it less onerous for councils to ensure road classification better reflects conditions on the ground, journeys will be easier to navigate.

“We are also using this as an opportunity to invite new ideas of tackling some of the problems caused by satnavs, for example lorries being directed down unsuitable roads,” Baker added.

Local councils will have to send a formal record of any changes to its road network to DfT and the current eight forms will be replaced with just one.

Ian Kitchen, Accessibility Development Manager at Lincolnshire County Council welcomed the new proposals:

“The multitude of different systems of classifications and hierarchies for roads can be confusing for those involved and in particular the travelling public.

“Should the proposals eventually be adopted then we will review the classification of roads and the primary route network across Lincolnshire in the light of this.

“However, we would not expect wide-scale changes since the existing system has been developed over many years to reflect the roles that roads play in providing for the needs of drivers and businesses.

“With regard to satnavs, we are not aware of any major issues with the misdirection of drivers along inappropriate roads in the county.

“However, we are keen to work with satnav producers and mapping companies to explore ways of encouraging traffic, and in particularly HGVs, to use the most appropriate route available,” Kitchen added.

Photo: Rick Wilks