Light at the end of tunnel for Dorset road campaign?
A road safety campaigner who spent a year repeatedly pushing the button on a pedestrian crossing to stop lorries passing through his village may be granted his dying wish, it emerged yesterday.
Tony Fuller, 78, risked the wrath of drivers and caused tailbacks of up to seven miles by holding up traffic to highlight his cause.
Mr Fuller and 25 fellow protesters used the pedestrian crossing on the A35 in Chideock, Dorset, non-stop for an hour a day to push the button controlling the traffic lights.
Irate motorists called the police, who initially handed Mr Fuller a warning, but later issued warnings to drivers through the local media to avoid the stretch of road.
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Mr Fuller, who is seriously ill with pancreatic cancer and diabetes, argues speeding lorry drivers increase pollution, traffic and damage buildings by using the picturesque village as a rat run.
Yesterday(thurs), it appeared as though his persistence had finally paid off, after his local MP agreed to investigate banning heavy goods vehicles.
A scheme like the low emission zone in London – where drivers have to register to use the road if they deliver to the area or be fined – is one of the options being examined by Oliver Letwin MP.
Mr Fuller, said: “It’s brilliant people finally appear to be listening, albeit belatedly.”
‘‘This row has been rumbling on for three years, although in the last year or so we’ve really stepped up the protests.
‘‘I initially rang the highways agency and they told me there were 16,000 vehicles passing my front door through the day and night.
‘‘There are huge 44 tonne lorries that are about a foot away from my front door.
‘‘Pollution in Chideock is about 26 per cent above what European guidelines say it should be as well and I think this has contributed to the deterioration of my health.
‘‘I had a heart attack in April and have had a series of chest infections this year which I put down to living near a busy road.
‘‘I am pleased that those in charge are finally starting to listen to me and that things might change for other villagers and their children in the future.’’
He even put a condition in his will stating his funeral cortege must crawl up and down the main road.
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin confirmed he was looking into banning HGVs not delivering to the area.
He said: “We’ve had serious discussions with the Highways Agency and the council is involved. The technology is now available.
“A new set of rules would be needed, but we are a long way from that.”
But Mike Moore, from the Haulage Association, said: ‘‘What is being proposed is just not practical. I can’t see a ban working.”