Highways England 'ready' for drone threat

11/02/2019
Chris Ames

Highways England has insisted that it has robust processes to deal with individuals deliberately disrupting the strategic road network (SRN) and other unplanned events following the Gatwick drone incident.

Just before Christmas Gatwick Airport was closed for more than 36 hours because of reported sightings of drones, which transport secretary Chris Grayling described as ‘deliberate’ and ‘criminal’ although no perpetrators have been identified.

Drivers on the SRN have recently suffered delays caused both by deliberate acts and as a result of police operations and the Gatwick incident raised the possibility that individuals with drones could deliberately disrupt the network.

In January, the M6 was closed for several hours in both directions after police and immigration officers detained people in a lorry. In late September 2017 there were two incidents within the space of a week where suspicious objects caused the M1 and the M3 to be closed for hours, leaving drivers trapped for long periods.

Following these recent events, Highways asked Highways England whether and how its approach has changed since the 2017 incidents, including keeping drivers informed.

Work to achieve a 'step change' in managing disruption remains 'ongoing', a Highways England spokesperson said.

‘We have robust processes in place for dealing with unplanned events. These can be anything from a road traffic collision, to severe weather, to something not on our network that is impacting on journeys. We have arrangements in place to work with the police and other organisations to understand various threats, to protect against these threats, and to respond to any incidents that occur,' the spokesperson said.

‘When a major, unplanned event does happen and it impacts on the roads we manage, it is very likely to involve multiple organisations, with an emergency service in the lead. So, it is important that we all continue to work closely together, ensuring timely information is shared and any customer welfare is managed via a multi-agency tactical response which we would support.’

On the subject of keeping the public informed, Highways England pointed out: ‘We have introduced new legends on our variable message signs to provide better information to drivers to help improve journeys and are working with local authorities to better connect our roads with local roads.'

In September 2017, following the M1 and M3 incidents, Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, called for an urgent review of the way drivers are kept informed and looked after during suspected terror incidents on motorways.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan told Mr Smith in a letter: ‘We have a number of key initiatives that will enable us to make a step change in improving customer journeys during periods of unplanned disruption. These include working with the National Police Chiefs Council to review existing joint incident management working practices across our respective operations and enhancing network control and performance.’

The Government-owned company told Highways that work with the police is ongoing and about integrating two initiatives - CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act, Re-open) and JESIP (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles). This specific work is due to be completed in 2019.

Highways England said its regional teams of traffic officers are already working with CLEAR and taking part in joint JESIP training.

While CLEAR aims to reduce the time taken to re-open motorways following an incident, and can be seen as the conversation between agencies, Highways England described JESIP – a government initiative dating back to 2012 – as ‘the way we have the conversations’.

Highways England said it is right to keep CLEAR under review and that it is working with the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council, the National Fire Chiefs Council, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the Department for Transport to identify how the organisations can collectively reduce incident clearance times as well as looking at improved ways to clear trapped traffic. This is work in progress.

 

 

Highways jobs

Engineer Maintenance

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit an Engineer Maintenance. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Site Supervisor

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council wish to appoint Site Supervisors to supervise the City Council's highway construction works. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Permit Officer

Liverpool City Council
£23,111 - £27,358
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit a Permit Officer. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Contracts Manager

Liverpool City Council
£37,107 - £41,846
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Contracts Manager based in Highways & Transportation. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Principal Engineer - Asset Management

Liverpool City Council
£37,107 - £41,846
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Principal Engineer - Asset Management. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Highways Inspector

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
We are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic individual to be a key member of our Highways Team. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Engineer - Capital Projects

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council is looking to recruit an Engineer - Capital Projects. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Engineer - Highways Capital Projects (S106)

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit an Engineer (Capital Projects). Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Team Leader - Asset Management

Liverpool City Council
£41,846 - £46,560
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Team Leader - Asset Management. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Technical Assistant

Liverpool City Council
£23,111 - £27,358
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit a Technical Assistant. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Waste and Recycling Engagement Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£24,460 - £26,358
We now have an exciting opportunity for a talented and enthusiastic individual to join us and be part of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA). Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Major Transport & Development Projects - Strategic Specialist

Wiltshire Council
£51,763 - £57,066
Wiltshire has a highly regarded record of securing funding and delivering major transport improvements across all modes of travel. Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Assistant Director - Growth and Development

Lincoln City Council
£59,058.00 - £65,127.00
Looking for an experienced manager with a good track record in proactively driving economic growth and investment. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincoln City Council

Assistant Director – Transport and Connectivity

Birmingham City Council
£73,513 - £90,864
This is one of a number of influential new senior roles for collaborative people, motivated by doing what’s right for our city and residents. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Director (Environment and Planning)

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
£77,265 p.a.
You will have a great opportunity to drive forward an ambitious strategic growth agenda... Hinckley, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Service Director – Environment

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£98,615
Looking to recruit to a key post within our Economy and Infrastructure Directorate.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transport & Development Officer (Career Grade)

London Borough of Bexley
£29,130 - £40,173
This is a Career Grade post and an excellent opportunity. Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
If you are an experienced Transport Planner then we need you to step aboard.  Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
Exciting time to join the Council and this role represents an opportunity to make a real difference... Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Waste and Fleet Operations Manager

Ipswich Borough Council
£52,020 - £56,100 (pay award pending)
Looking for someone to lead and manage a large and vital operational area... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Ipswich Borough Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Includes:

  • The Jubliee of Britain's first motorway
  • The Big Interview with Dr Howard Robinson
  • Highways England's latest work in computer-led design
View the latest issue

Latest Video