Suffolk police and crime commissioner (PCC) has vowed to take on the Highways Agency (HA) to get a better deal for hauliers.
Tim Passmore, one of 41 PCCs elected in November 2012 to scrutinise police forces and set local crime-fighting priorities, told CM the HA in East Anglia needed to up its game on road maintenance, its handling of traffic problems and its response to accidents.
Passmore also said hauliers get a poor return for the amount of money the industry pays through taxes to fund the road network.
He said: “I’ve already had a meeting with the HA and told the regional director [for the East of England] that it needs to start shaping up and thinking about the haulage industry.
“Someone has to speak up for the haulage industry – look at the amount it pays in duty and excise. I’ve told the HA it should sort out [the problems].”
Passmore added that some roads in the region are in a “state of disrepair”, which is causing damage to tyres. He also thinks the HA should do more to minimise disruption to road users caused by accidents.
“We need a system of local response teams to clear up incidents and pay them a retainer so they can get there quickly,” he said.
Passmore said that he was still waiting for a response from the HA, but vowed to not let the issue drop.
In response, an HA spokeswoman said: “We are committed to providing safe and reliable journeys for all road users, including hauliers, in East Anglia. We have a robust maintenance programme to keep our network safe and serviceable and reduce the need for emergency maintenance closures.
“Mr Passmore has expressed his concerns to us about the A14 around Ipswich and we have discussed with him how we will be implementing improvements following completion of a study into the causes of recent incidents. All improvements will be carefully planned to minimise disruption.
“We remain committed to playing our part in improving the response to incidents; we will look further at how we can work with the police and other partners to ensure this happens.”
PCCs are elected for four-year terms and have recently published plans detailing how they will tackle local crime priorities.
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