A lorry drivers’ group has welcomed a controversial county council decision to lift HGV restrictions in Eye.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA), which has 8,500 members across the road transport industry, said the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) in the north Suffolk town was increasing costs for businesses.

Suffolk County Council announced the restrictions would be lifted because neighbouring villages were reporting increased levels of traffic, leaving many Eye residents furious.

East Anglian Daily Times: RHA Policy Lead for Infrastructure, James BarwiseRHA Policy Lead for Infrastructure, James Barwise (Image: RHA)

RHA policy lead for infrastructure James Barwise said: “The RHA welcomes SCC’s decision to rescind the restriction on HGVs passing through Eye.

"The diversions in this case added significant costs to local businesses, as well as upsetting local communities with unnecessary congestion.

“We look forward to working with Suffolk County Council in the future to exploring how they can meet their transport policy objectives while also supporting the needs of local business.”

The restrictions were brought in last May, with the town centre limited to HGVs servicing shops and businesses only, because of safety concerns in Eye.

Many residents in the town have reacted furiously to Suffolk County Council’s decision.

Nick England, who lives in Eye, said: “We are very, very disappointed, no, really angry that it's being removed and left to die.

“The decision to revoke the ETRO appears to be driven solely by political expediency, sacrificing the safety and well-being of Eye's residents for the convenience of other parishes on the preferred lorry route.”

The council decision has been based on “public consultation and analysis of traffic data”, with the council claiming 39% of Eye residents said the traffic restriction had had a positive impact on the town compared to 18% negative.

Outside of Eye, 11 of 15 neighbouring areas reported an increase in HGV traffic.

It is not known how many people were surveyed or how this consultation was carried out.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for economic development, skills, transport strategy and waste, said: “Unfortunately, restricting HGV access in Eye has only moved the problem to other communities, which is not acceptable.

“I understand that this is an important and upsetting issue for many people in Eye, but solving this type of problem in a rural county with few good quality routes is far from easy.

"We will continue to look at ways to mitigate the heavy traffic in Eye, including engineering measures and potentially different types of traffic restrictions.

“However, an overwhelming number of people were opposed to this restriction, and it is only right that we take their views into account and bring the experiment to an end.”