Sat-navs 'ruining ancient buildings'

* Sat-navs send lorries down historic routes * Society hits out at damage caused * Sat-nav makers and Government responding...

Sat-navs 'ruining ancient buildings'

Sat-navs systems are posing a threat to Britain's ancient bridges, roads and buildings, according to The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The society says that an increasing number of drivers are being directed to use lanes and country roads never designed for heavy vehicles, causing damage.

Examples of damage caused include:

• Lorries using sat-nav devices recently damaged the 200-year-old bridge over the river Ock at Charney Bassett in Oxfordshire, and struck the ancient railings around Ock Green;

• A 300-year-old cottage near Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, was wrecked when a trucker followed his sat-nav down a narrow country lane to escape the busy A627;

• At Pevensey Castle in East Sussex, there are reports of damage to the Roman foundations following an increase in the number of lorries being guided along the nearby B2191 by sat-nav technology.

SPAB secretary Phillip Venning said: 'Blind reliance on satellite-navigation is fast becoming a serious issue for old buildings as motorists are directed to use ancient lanes and narrow country roads that might even have posed for a problem for horse-drawn carriages.

'The result is thousands of pounds worth of damage to historic structures that have, until recently, stood the test of time.'

Sat-nav makers and the Government have already starting work on overcoming problems caused by the systems.

For instance, Ordnance Survey is redrawing its satellite-navigation maps to steer HGVs away from country roads and villages, while the Government is preparing a kitemark scheme to encourage sat-nav makers to promote responsible routes.