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Beware bridge weight limit breaches

  • 06 December 2012
  • By Chris Tindall

A lawyer acting on behalf of an Exeter haulage firm prosecuted for mistakenly breaching a weight limit on a bridge in Wiltshire has claimed more hauliers could face larger fines.

Parsons Nationwide Distribution pleaded guilty at Chippenham Magistrates’ Court to a charge of using a 44-tonne vehicle to cross the Bradford-on-Avon town bridge and flouting an 18-tonne gross-plated weight limit – even though the lorry was empty and under the laden weight limit.

The company was fined £600 and ordered to pay £75 costs to Wiltshire Council, after volunteers clocked the lorry as part of the town’s Lorry Watch scheme in July.

Paul Atkinson, solicitor at Over Taylor Biggs in Exeter, described the fine as “harsh” but said it was less than the maximum fine of £1,000 because the firm gained credit for its early guilty plea.

“It was the first time the company was prosecuted for this offence,” he said. “I explained to the court the excellent procedures in place to train drivers and comply with the law. If other hauliers go into that court, they [could be] facing a bigger fine than Parsons.”

The firm’s MD, Noreen Hoskin, said the weight breach had occurred once before in November 2011, and added that the driver had been disciplined. A notice was then also issued to all drivers.

She added: “On the second occasion, a different driver was diverted this way and crossed the bridge. He was also warned about this. On both occasions the lorries were empty and under the [laden weight] limit of the bridge. We have reminded all our drivers again as to the weight limits that apply to crossing bridges, and that they should plan their routes accordingly. We
have also banned all our vehicles from crossing this bridge.”

Dick Tonge, cabinet member for highways and transport at the council, said: “This is an excellent example of a community working together and solving local issues.”


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