MPs Claim Smart Motorway Plans 'Blatantly Ignore Safety Concerns'

By Tom Pritchard on at

The Commons Transport Committee is complaining that the government has rejected a critical report on the subject of motorway hard shoulders being turned into extra traffic lanes.

Officials have been keen to keep implementing so-called 'smart motorway' plans as a way of increasing motorway capacity without having to widen any roads. Plans have already been implemented on sections of the M42, M1, M6, and M5, and the latest plans would see it put in operation on a 32-mile stretch of the M4.

The cross-party group of MPs that make up the committee have complained that the Department of Transport approved the latest plans before their report was even considered. While the committee supports the smart motorway scheme, it has numerous safety concerns regarding cars breaking down in live traffic. In particular is the government's assessment that using hard shoulders to increase traffic capacity is no different than other sections of motorway that do not have a hard shoulder.

The government's response to the committee was that Highways England will be reviewing the spacing of emergency lay-bys, in order to reduce the chance of cars breaking down in live traffic and causing more congestion. MPs responded saying that the M4 scheme should be postponed until this work can be carried out.

The committee members wren't the only people with concerns over the new plans either. According to the report genuine concerns had been raised by emergency services, road workers, and recovery operators. All of which should have a fairly important say in the matter if you ask me. [The Guardian]