A BAN on HGVs travelling between Malton and Norton has been branded a “complete failure”, with calls to halt it immediately.

Norton county councillor Keane Duncan said the ban had failed to achieve its aim to improve air quality and should be ceased as soon as possible.

The experimental 18-month HGV ban on vehicles of more than 7.5 tonnes crossing the level crossing was introduced by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) in February to reduce the number of lorries travelling through Malton’s Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

But a report by area highways manager Richard Marr to today’s (Wednesday) meeting of the Thirsk and Malton Constituency Committee reveals the number of HGVs travelling through Butcher Corner has not changed - and in some directions, HGV movements have actually increased.

“There has been a notable increase in HGV traffic along Highfield Road and Pasture Lane,” he said. “This is likely to be contributive to vehicles diverting to avoid the centre of Malton and also due to the constrained road space at Butcher Corner, which makes it difficult for large vehicles to make tight turns.”

Mr Marr said NYCC had received a number of complaints regarding the increase in HGVs in the area including safety implications of lorries passing two primary schools, traffic issues, noise, pollution and road damage.

“At Butcher Corner the traffic counts have indicated a reduction in HGVs travelling to and from Butcher Corner via Newbiggin and an increase in HGVs travelling to and from Butcher Corner via Old Malton Road,” he added.

“Surprisingly, there is a slight increase in HGVs travelling towards Butcher Corner from Castlegate, although HGVs travelling into Castlegate from Butcher Corner have decreased.

“On Yorkersgate the counter indicates that HGV traffic heading eastbound into Malton has remained constant although the number of HGVs travelling through Butcher Corner towards Old Maltongate appears to have increased, while on Church Street HGV flows have increased in an eastbound direction which is likely to be a result of routing away from the level crossing.”

Mr Marr added: “Overall the restriction does not appear to be creating a reduction of HGV movements through Butcher Corner.”

Cllr Duncan said the ban had failed to achieve its aim to improve air quality and should be halted as soon as possible.

He said: “It is now time to end this costly and unpopular ban, and draw a line under it once and for all.”

Cllr Duncan said: “The traffic data confirms what many suspected from the start, that the HGV ban would have no real impact on air quality.

“The only real effect has been major increases in traffic along Highfield Road in Malton, Church Street in Norton and in a number of villages within a 10- mile radius of town.”

Cllr Duncan, who told the Gazette & Herald in February that the ban “could prove to be a disaster”, is expected to call on colleagues to back a repeal of the ban at today’s committee meeting at the Ryedale Community Leisure Club in Norton.

He said: “We are now 10 months into the ban. So far, I have been shown no evidence that it has had any positives whatsoever, only negatives at every step of the way. It has been a complete failure.

“It would be ridiculous to continue with a measure that is causing so many problems to so many people.

“We have the power to stop the ban now before it becomes permanent in August next year.”

To comment on the consultation email area4.kirbymisperton@northyorks.gov.uk.