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Lorries could use bus lanes ‘to aid Wales traffic flow’

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    A bus lane in NewportImage copyright Jaggery/Geograph
    Image caption Ministers will review the “potential for allowing HGVs to use bus lanes in Wales in limited circumstances”

    Lorries could be allowed to use some bus lanes to improve traffic flow across Wales, if a review is agreed.

    Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates could consider letting HGVs into bus lanes in limited circumstances.

    Sustainable transport charity Sustrans said such a move could endanger lives, as cyclists use bus lanes, but haulage groups said it was a “good idea”.

    The Welsh Government is to discuss the idea with highways and transport organisations over the next year.

    The Road Haulage Association (RHA), which represents transport operators, has welcomed the idea, but it stressed the need for a sustained programme of investment in roads and infrastructure.

    Sustrans Cymru said it was worried about the possible safety implications, claiming bus lanes form an important part of cycling infrastructure, reducing cyclists’ exposure to traffic.

    Natasha Withey, from the group, said: “To improve traffic flow, cities need to reduce the number of vehicles on the road through encouraging more people to use alternative means to get around, not discourage cyclists through making their dedicated infrastructure unsafe.”

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Hauliers say the recent snow shows what disruption to lorry deliveries can do

    The Freight Transport Association, which represents firms moving goods by road, rail, sea and air, said it was “delighted to hear the Welsh Government is seriously considering this proposal”.

    A spokesman said: “Making better use of valuable road space by allowing trucks to use bus lanes not only eases congestion, but helps to keep delivery costs down and ensures food and other vital supplies arrive on time at our shops and homes, something that benefits everyone.”

    An RHA spokesman said the move could help to reduce hold-ups, adding: “Only last week during ‘snowmageddon’ we saw how quickly supermarket shelves emptied because trucks couldn’t get through in time.”

    Discussions will be held with highways groups, including the Traffic Commissioner for Wales, who is responsible for licensing HGV operators and buses.

    The conclusions are due to be published by the Welsh Government in 2019.

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