AT LONG last we have an official voice being raised against the agricultural juggernauts which plague our city and the roads in outlying villages.
There has been a steady increase, over recent years in the size of agricultural machinery and no doubt the farmers and contractors who use the machinery would argue that the economies of scale make this a necessity. These vehicles are obviously an advantage in a 50-acre field pulling a multi-furrow plough, but it is unacceptable that these same vehicles are used on our narrow rural roads.
I have personally witnessed on a daily basis incidents this summer where tractors and implements or trailers straddle the central white lines on the road from Chichester through Funtington, narrowly missing traffic due to the way these trailers sway from side to side. On one occasion two motorcyclists were very lucky not to have been unseated on the sharp bend in East Ashling.
The drivers of these vehicles compound the problem by their apparent urge to maintain a tight schedule and on occasion refusing to postpone their mobile phone conversations. I know of two local cyclists who have been knocked off their bikes by these vehicles, not to mention the walls which have been demolished from time to time in the village of Funtington: a fatal accident is waiting to happen.
I fear the suggestion by Councillor Dunn to apply an exclusion zone in the City, admirable though it is, will do little to alleviate the very real danger which exists for rural road-users and also the vibration and damage which these juggernauts inflict on local communities. So what is to be done about it? If tax breaks encourage the use of tractors and trailers rather than lorries to transport produce, then do something about it. Perhaps the police should be a little more active in monitoring these vehicles and giving advice.
If farmers suffer a loss of profit due to reducing the scale of their operations then we all have to
share in the cost if we want something done.