RESIDENTS alarmed by the dangers posed by heavy lorries rumbling through villages in the Vale of Evesham are being given the chance to have their say about ways to tackle the problem.

Businesses will also be asked for their views about the long running problems, which impact on Cotswold district villages such as Mickleton and Willersey.

Six local authorities - Wychavon, Cotswold and Stratford-on-Avon district councils and Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire county councils - are collaborating on draft planning guidelines for the area.

As part of their public consultation, they are canvassing views from people and companies on issues such as effects on the environment, air quality, road safety, historic buildings and homes and resultant congestion.

Cotswold District Council's senior planning officer Iona Cameron said: "The area's high number of lorries is due to the number of storage and distribution businesses in the area and the Vale's traditional market gardening trade.

"The outcome of several major planning applications in the area could add to the problems. Business, industrial and office developments that require lorries for daily operations would be better co-located nearer to principal road and rail networks such as Vale Park near Evesham."

The draft planning guidance - known as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) - aims to reduce the impact of heavy traffic by restricting new developments that would increase lorry numbers and movements.

If benefits of a proposed scheme outweighed any environmental harm, planning permission could be given in exceptional circumstances.

Businesses would still have to show how lorries would not add to traffic problems.

The draft guidelines are being sent to residents' groups, town and parish councils, businesses and transport operators to get their views on scope for reducing the number of lorries on the road network and local employment opportunities that might justify an increase in lorry movements.

Types of land uses that might replace current lorry distribution businesses if they relocated are also being sought.

The deadline for responding to the authorities' proposed guidelines is Monday, April 30. Copies are available from the district council planning departments.