Could Sidford cope with a new industrial site? A 75 minute traffic gridlock says not!

The idea of an industrial complex in Sidford has not died – it could return at any minute.  This was the situation when two large vehicles met on one of the narrowest parts of the road  – vehicles were trapped for more than an hour … imagine if there had been a medical emergency or fire during that time …

Sidmouth DCC councillor Stuart Hughes has responsibility for transport issues in Devon.

A picture is worth a thousand words …

Owl says: bad news for Devon which has hundreds of miles of local roads that Devon County Council can’t afford to maintain, just one motorway only serving part of Devon and a handful of trunk roads.

“More money needs to be spent on England’s local roads by Government after it was revealed today that motorways and major trunk roads receive 52 times more central funding per mile.

The Local Government Association, which represents 349 English councils and carried out the analysis, has urged Government to reduce the disparity so its members can tackle the £12billion repair bill to bring local roads up to scratch – including fixing more potholes.

It found that the Government plans to spend £1.1m per mile to maintain its strategic road network between 2015 and 2020.

However, the LGA will provide councils with just £21,000 per mile for local roads over the same period.

This is despite an increase in the number of cars travelling on local roads, average speeds falling and local roads making up 98 per cent of England’s road network, according to the LGA. …

Many of Devon’s roads and bridges “sub-standard” and percentage higher than national average

Transport supremo Stuart Hughes will need to burn the midnight oil …


“More than 2,500 bridges in England are not fit to support the heaviest lorries, a study has found.
The RAC Foundation discovered 2,512 council-maintained bridges are not suitable for 44 tonne vehicles.
Devon County Council has the highest number of substandard bridges with 249, followed by Somerset (210) and Essex (160). …”


“Nearly one in four minor roads in Devon are in a state of “considerable deterioration” and need attention within the next year.

The latest figures from the Department for Transport have revealed that 23% of the minor road network in the county was put into the ‘red’ category by inspectors in 2016-17.

This means that when these roads were surveyed they were found to have a wide range of surface damage and deterioration and were expected to need maintenance within the next 12 months.

The minor road network – or “unclassified” – includes any public local roads that are not classed as A, B or C, and which are not residential streets or agricultural tracks.

It makes up more than half of the total road network in Devon in terms of length.

In comparison, across England only 17% of the unclassified road network was considered to potentially need maintenance.

Meanwhile, a further 13% of B and C roads and 3% of the A road network in Devon is also considered to be in a state of serious deterioration.

In terms of the state of B and C roads, that’s higher than the national average – across the country, just 6% of the B and C network and 3% of all principal roads are in this condition.”

Another reason to have a breakaway eastern East Devon?

Very, very few people in the eastern part of East Devon will benefit from this, yet it is in the EDDC area.

“The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed funding for two major projects in Devon …

[One is £9 m at Sherford new town near Plymouth]

… east of Exeter, the continuing growth and development will receive a £4 million boost, which with £3 million developer contributions will deliver improvements to Moor Lane junction to provide more capacity for traffic using the A30 and from Sowton Industrial estate; extension of the higher quality cycle routes into the city; an additional multi-use car park at the Science Park; plus extension of the electric bike scheme.

The news has been welcomed by Devon County Council, which put in the bids for the DfT funding.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said:

“This is great news for Devon. Great for Devon residents, and great for Devon businesses. The £9 million will bring with it improvements in Exeter, and much needed access, and High Street, to the new town of Sherford. Both schemes will be a boost for new housing, jobs and connectivity in Devon.”

Infrastructure: the forgotten need and M5 worst road for traffic jams in 2016

More and more houses, more and more and more cars … tipping point now reached.

“The UK has been confirmed as having more traffic jams than anywhere else in Europe. The Independent Transport Commission has found that the cost of these jams to the UK economy is a staggering £9 billion per year. That’s more than the cost to most European countries combined.

… Looking at vehicles per capita, the UK is 34th in the world. It comes behind France, Sweden, Italy, Luxembourg and Greece, so that doesn’t seem to be the problem. The UK has six million fewer cars than France on its roads. …

Additionally, research by traffic analytics company Inrix shows that, in 2016, drivers encountered 1.35 million traffic jams in the UK. That works out on average to 3,700 traffic jams every day. The estimated annual cost of £9 billion wasted is based on time, fuel spent while idling or starting vehicles in jams and the resultant cost of all that unnecessary pollution.

M5 wins title of “worst traffic jam” in 2016

On 4 August 2016 at the M5 near Somerset, two lorries collided. This created the worst traffic jam of last year, with a 36-mile tailback. It took workers 15 hours to clear the debris. This jam alone was estimated to have cost £2.4 million.

The northbound M6 has three serious traffic jams in the top five worst traffic jams of 2016, while a serious car accident on the A406 was the fourth worst jam of the year.

The causes of the worst queues ranged from fuel spills and emergency repairs to broken down lorries. November was the worst month in terms of the total number of traffic jams. There were 169,000 on the UK’s major roads during that month. April had the second highest number of jams recorded.

UK roads not fit for purpose

Investment has been made to update Britain’s main trunk roads. We are totally reliant on these to get up and down the country. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of traffic on them means that if anything causes the traffic flow to stop at all, there are no alternative road systems nearby for drivers to move across to. Many of the new “smart motorways” being built across the UK are exacerbating the problem because they are built with no hard shoulder in place, just emergency refuge bays provided at maximum intervals of 2,500 metres. …”

[The rest of the article consists of (a) the government saying it is working on the problem and (b) a plea for more roads which hardly seem worth commenting on]

DCC transport supremo Stuart Hughes on the spot next week

“On Monday Devon Live launches a series of special reports into the county’s congestion problems and the impact that pollution is having on people’s lives.

Gridlocked Devon will look at some of the major challenges caused by congestion across the county and find out what is being done to encourage people to use other modes of transport. …

Investigations throughout the week will reveal the attitude of local authorities to sustainable travel and highlight some of Devon’s pollution hotspots.

Gridlocked Devon will culminate on Friday with a Facebook Live debate tackling some of the major travel problems facing the county.

To submit a question email