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Light at the end of tunnel for Dorset road campaign?

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: June 03, 2011

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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.

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.”

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  • dorsetgirl01  |  January 21 2012, 12:20PM

    The road was there BEFORE Mr fuller decided to move there. Local residents and local businesses do NOT support Mr Fuller.

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  • myringwood  |  September 12 2011, 5:37PM

    Always a tough call. It is a main 'A' road through the county - but no doubt very frustrating for the local residents. I too suffer 'traffic rage' - living in a small village - where traffic cuts through as a 'rat run'. It is a complete pain - but it is those behind the wheel who lack courtesy and respect for diving through a rural area - and not giving a damn for those who live there - as long as they can get from A to B as quickly as possible. Many of them happen to be on the school run...but that's another issue...don't get me started!

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  • Johnnytheboy  |  September 11 2011, 1:25PM

    Small village: yes, but on a major A-road that was offered a bypass 15 years ago, until a small minority got the scheme shelved. The one thing Tony Fuller does not support is the reintroduction of that scheme, which betrays his anti-motorised traffic leanings. Mr Fuller is a busybody who is (I am told by friends from Chideock) widely disliked, to the extent that one friend has contemplated putting a sign on his fence saying "he's nothing to do with us".

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  • zakday7  |  June 15 2011, 3:00PM

    Small villages and big lorries just don't go together. Let's hope someone sees sense

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  • DorsetJohn1  |  June 03 2011, 8:20AM

    Well done Mr Fuller. Just shows what you can achieve