uge police swoop danger loads
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• Trucks carrying hazardous chemicals in the North have been hit by the biggest vehicle check ever mounted in the UK.
As CM went to press on Tuesday (26 September), 11 checkpoints on trunk roads including the Al, A19 and A66 were stopping every vehicle displaying a Hazchem label. The routes monitored were those which traditionally carry a high concentration of chemical freight.
Seven police forces were involved in the operation, backed up by personnel from the Department of Transport, the Health and Safety Executive, EIM Customs and trading standards departments. Cleveland police, co-ordinating the check, were blitzing wrongly-labelled loads, and checking that driv ers were aware of what they were carrying and of emergency procedures. The joint action with other bodies enabled all safety aspects to be checked.
Operation Chenicheck ran for 12 hours at most check points, from 06:00 hrs. Depending on the success of thi operation, further large-scale checks may follow. Humberside Chief Inspector Stephen Madsen says that Operation Chemcheck is an extension o he routine lorry checks carried )ut by individual police forces ind was not sparked by a paricular rise in public or police :oncern over the transport of iazardous loads.
Fred Smith, the Association Chief Police Officers Traffic :ommittee specialist on the ransportation of dangerous .ubstances, told CM: "All the Drces in this region have reguar individual chemical checks ut we want to achieve a cordinated approach that will enble us to check tankers that ie might normally miss. Tank ers travelling through the North will find it very difficult to avoid a road check."
Alan Halfpenny, ICI distribution manager for chemicals and polymers, says that ICI knew nothing of the checks beforehand, but he was confident that "our standards have teeth and our hauliers have got the message — comply or else." Chemcheck would crack down on foreign vehicles whose standards were "not as rigid as they might be".
For full results see next week's Commercial Motor.