A RESIDENT who stopped an 18-tonne lorry from crossing Marlow Bridge has blasted Buckinghamshire Council after it was announced it would not continue a camera trial on the town’s historic weight-restricted bridge.

Sue Winter, who is in her 70s, previously told the Bucks Free Press how she stood in front of a lorry to stop it from crossing the bridge which has a three-tonne weight limit.

Since then, Buckinghamshire Council installed a camera on the bridge as part of a trial to monitor how many people in heavy cars, vans and lorries were trying to get across it.

It found that on average, 97 vehicles every day were breaking the weight restriction rules.

Guidance in place at the beginning of the trial showed that structural weight limits could potentially be available for enforcement by local authorities, so a camera trial was carried out on that basis.

But the council can not progress with the trial because it has now been made clear that the enforcement of structural weight limits by local authorities in this way is not allowed leaving residents “baffled”.

The rules go on to state that the council can only enforce environmental weight limits, which can only be used on routes that are unsuitable for HGVs and where there is a better and equally convenient alternative.

They cannot be used to enforce structural weight limits, where the structure is weak and cannot bear vehicles over a certain weight – which would be the case for Marlow Bridge.

It means a camera for Marlow Bridge has been dropped from the council’s plans as they progress with applying to the Department for Transport for permission to go ahead with other schemes.

Sue said: “I don’t understand what they are talking about.

“They seem to be getting away with it on a technicality.

“Surely if a bridge is protected and there are rules and regulations a camera is the ideal way.

“We are in a worst situation now because if they had done nothing at all and people knew they weren’t allowed to use but they have basically said there is nothing to do so actually all the lorries have carte-blanche.

“We know how to work cameras, so why can’t we use them.

“It's a three-tonne limit weight, they should enforce it and I would have thought in this day and age they could enforce it somehow, short of getting a gang of old-age pensioners on a daily basis but I don’t think I have time for that.”

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting as the plans were discussed, leader Cllr Martin Tett said he was “disappointed” that they cannot use the measures to protect the bridge.

He said: “I have had correspondence from people about the use of Marlow Bridge by vehicles that are quite frankly inappropriate.

“We had that incident a few years ago with the HGV trying to get across it which led to extensive damage to the bridge and we’ve had vehicles damaged by trying to get through bollards.

“It’s an area where we could have really done with those powers but we don’t have them.”