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Suffolk County Council to discuss plans to reduce HGV movements in town centres



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A feasibility study is to be launched to assess whether HGV movements in town centres can be reduced as part of measures to tackle the climate emergency.

Priority programmes for the next few months in the countywide climate emergency action plan produced by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders have been published.

Among them are plans for a Crowdfunder campaign to help fund carbon-cutting projects for parish councils and charities, and reviewing the current electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the county and developing a strategy with interventions to bolster that.

Suzie Morley, Conservative leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture: Mid Suffolk District Council
Suzie Morley, Conservative leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture: Mid Suffolk District Council

But a feasibility study is also planned for “last mile delivery solutions in town centres”, a report to Suffolk County Council says, with “the aim of reducing heavy goods vehicle movements in town centres”.

The study will be funded from the £1.5million of retained business rates put aside by the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) group for its climate emergency action plan work.

Cllr Suzie Morley, Conservative chair of SPSL, said: “SPSL is excited to support this first set of projects, which are now in development. They look at different ways of addressing climate change in the county as a result of our climate emergency plan.

Suffolk County Council's Green councillor for Halesworth, Annette Dunning. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council's Green councillor for Halesworth, Annette Dunning. Picture: Suffolk County Council

“These are great examples of Suffolk working together, looking at a range of subjects from air quality to electric vehicle infrastructure to supporting community buildings. This is part of our commitment to all working together to best set Suffolk on the path for carbon neutrality by 2030.”

It is not yet clear when the study will start or when findings will be published, but more communication has been pledged as projects develop.

Cllr Annette Dunning, spokeswoman for achieving net zero with Suffolk County Council’s Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said: “While I completely understand the need and economics of large lorries for the transportation of goods, this council needs to find a better solution that matches the frustration and concerns of local residents who are affected by the damaged air quality, noise pollution, and growing congestions across Suffolk.

“Any review must be strongly supported with public engagement and clarity for local communities to understand the benefits. Last-mile delivery solutions have the potential to change our towns and villages for the better.

“With a fleet of electric vehicles, this strategy could improve air quality and green spaces, free up areas for pedestrians to walk, talk and cycle, as well as encourage local residents and tourists to reignite town and village centres.”

On the EV infrastructure review, she added that isolated rural communities needed to be prioritised and “local authorities need to be appropriately funded to match the Government’s ambitions”.