Traffic thundering through Dorchester town centre when it shouldn’t be could face the county town’s version of the congestion charge.

The idea comes from Dorchester councillor Gerald Duke.

He says that when the bypass was opened it came with a traffic orders banning large vehicles from coming through the town – but over the years more and more are doing so.

Cllr Duke is suggesting that traffic cameras could be used to plot HGV movements with ‘fines’ being imposed on those who are simply driving through the town, without making deliveries, or other authorised stops.

He suggests that it would be a simple step to impose the town’s own version of the congestion charge – using DVLC records and a relatively simple recording computer programme.

His idea centres around spotting those who take less than 20 or 30 minutes to pass from one camera to the other.

“If they can get through in less than that, they obviously haven’t stopped and should be made to pay. It would soon put a stop to those flouting the regulations,” he said.

Under his scheme, which centres around the High Streets, The Grove and London Road, there would be cameras at Monkey’s Jump roundabout, Grey’s Bridge and at the Charminster roundabout or even at the bottom of the Grove.

“A lot of traffic is going through the town because, on some days, it can be quicker; because sat’ navs’ send them there and because there’s no enforcement. But it’s causing misery for people who live and work in town centre roads,” he said. His idea would exclude local residents and businesses.

But his idea has failed to win the support of officers at County Hall who are suggesting that road pollution in the town would have to get a lot worse before action might be considered.

Cllr Duke says that Government guidance is only that there is a local will to do it, rather than anything to do with pollution.

“And they can’t tell me it’s because of the cost. This scheme has an income and could easily cover its costs…the answer at County Hall always seems to be, ‘no,’ and then ‘now what’s the question?’”

He says other criticisms of the idea are easily countered – by giving operators the ability to alter the drive through time according to local traffic conditions. If there was an accident, or other problems, which caused congestion on the bypass with a knock-on effect into the town, the timings could be changed.

“The only limitation is the desire to do something,” said Cllr Duke.

His idea will be discussed by town councillors later in the year with a meeting also planned with West Dorset MP Sir Oliver Letwin.