Decision to be considered on Norton crossing weight limit

This story was published 23 July 2019

A decision on whether to make permanent a weight restriction prohibiting heavy commercial vehicles from using Norton level crossing is expected on Friday (26 July).

View of Norton level crossing

An 18-month experimental 7.5-tonne restriction designed to improve air quality came into force in February 2018 and will expire on 9 August.

A report to the Business and Environmental Services Corporate Director and Executive Members will recommend that the restriction be made permanent, but that the limit should be looked at again following a forthcoming increase in the rail service in Malton and a review of the impact of that on traffic flows and air quality.

Rail services are due to increase to two trains an hour in each direction from December this year, doubling the number of trains stopping in Malton, potentially leading to significant queuing, affecting journey times and creating congestion and delay.

In a public consultation in May, the County Council sought views on whether the weight limit should be made permanent. Residents have raised concerns about the displacement of HGVs.

The report acknowledges that the experimental weight restriction has created issues elsewhere on the roads and that issues such as HGVs being displaced onto unsuitable routes are important. But it says its contribution towards improvements to air quality cannot be ignored. Monitoring of nitrogen dioxide across the air quality management area at Butcher Corner has shown concentrations decrease by four per cent in 2018. To revoke the weight restriction before the implications of the increased rail service have been fully appraised could be considered premature, says the report.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Our officers are telling us that the weight limit should not be considered in isolation, but in the context of the planned increase in rail services and any alterations to the operation of the highway network. If we were to make the restriction permanent, it would be with the proviso of a further review after the impact of the increased rail traffic is understood.”

The terms of the order mean it cannot be extended; it must be made permanent or revoked.