Communities in the west of Wiltshire have responded with relief to news that heavy goods lorries will not be diverted past their homes, after a proposed weight limit in Bath was refused.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) had planned to impose an 18-tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge on the A36, effectively forcing heavy lorries to use through Wiltshire.

There were fears that would cause additional congestion and pollution in villages and towns along the route and a detour for some vehicles of 45 miles.

Following an appeal by Wiltshire Council and other affected authorities, the Depart-ment for Transport refused the proposals last week.

Hilperton councillor Ernie Clark said the ban would have greatly increased the existing problem with lorries passing through the village and nearby Staverton.

He said: “This is splendid news for Hilperton and other villages around Trowbridge as well. Local residents were all aware of the threat and are very relieved.

“Most of these villages have a problem with HGVs.

“As it is, we get around 100 a day through Hilperton and the Highways Agency won’t do anything about it.

“This shows what you can get by everyone working together. I am sure B&NES will come back to this and, through consultation with Wiltshire Council, can come up with a better solution.”

Hilperton is awaiting the construction of a relief road to take traffic around the village, due in a couple of years, although lorries will still go through neighbouring Staverton.

In Westbury, concerns over the volume of traffic passing through the town, including many large lorries using the A350, have led to regular calls for a bypass to be built.

Mayor Sue Ezra said residents were pleased the Bath ban would not be imposed.

“The news that we won’t have more heavy lorries travelling through the town will be very welcome, I am sure,” she said.

“We would have suffered a great deal if this had been put in place and there is considerable relief around the town.”

A spokesman for B&NES said it would work with Wiltshire Council, Somerset County Council and the Highways Agency to find a new solution.

He added: “Our proposed experimental restriction would reduce the contribution made by HGVs to poor air quality, road safety issues and intimidation experienced by vulnerable road users within the Bath World Heritage Site.

“The council is determined to do everything in its power to address these problems.”

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for transport Cllr Dick Tonge said it would work with B&NES to find a solution which does not affect the county.