Shapps puts roll-out of smart motorways on hold

31/01/2020
Dominic Browne

The roll-out of smart motorways has been put on hold due to safety concerns, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

Speaking in parliament My Shapps said that the ongoing review of smart motorways - announced in October last year, and now some months late - had 'uncovered a range of issues that I am not content simply to brush over'.

He told MPs that no new smart motorways will be opened until he had the 'outcome of the stocktake'.

'I have (therefore) requested further information, and we are nearly there. In this process, I have specifically included going back to, speaking to and in one case meeting the families of those who have been affected by these issues,' Mr Shapps said.

'We must make them at least as safe, if not safer, otherwise they cannot continue. But we have to do this as a fact-based process. I am interested, rightly, in speaking to the families of the victims as well as to organisations such as the AA and the RAC and to Members of this House.'

He concluded that a stretch of the M20 being converted to smart motorway, 'and all other stretches that are currently being worked on will not be opened until we have the outcome of the stocktake'.

After two years of work the 6.5 mile stretch of smart motorway on the M20, between West Malling and Aylesford, was due to be completed in March

However, the existing smart motorway network will remain open. Around 200 miles of the strategic road network have been converted to smart motorway in one form or another including stretches of the M1, M4, M6 and M62.

The transport secretary did make it clear he wants to put an end to all-lane-running dynamic motorways where the hard shoulder can be converted to a live traffic lane and switched back again depending on capacity need.

'There is far too much complication' in that system Mr Shapps said.

The government and Highways England have come under pressure to end the smart motorway programme after figures revealed 38 people have been killed on them in the past five years and one section on the M25 saw a 20-fold increase in near misses. 

Highways England has also been criticised for not having stopped vehicle detection (SVD) technology in place across all sections of smart motorway in the country.

Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan admitted to the transport select committee last year the lack of SVD had almost certainly cost lives.

Highways jobs

Project Engineer – Scarborough or Whitby Area Office

£24,982 to £35,745
We have an exciting Project Engineer opportunity in our Scarborough or Whitby Highways Operational office. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Ice Rink Manager

£29,724 - £32,757
We are looking for a friendly and approachable person to join our management team, who can... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Safer Spaces Digital Evidence Officers

£25.137 - £26.520
Following a redesign of the service, we are now looking to appoint a number of exceptional candidates as Safer Spaces Digital Evidence Officers. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Safer Spaces Digital Evidence Supervisors

£30.585 - £31.557
Following a redesign of the service, we are now looking to appoint two experienced candidates as Safer Spaces Digital Evidence Supervisors. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environment Improvement Officer

£24,982 - £27,041 per annum
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Director - Capital Projects, Building Services, Highways and Transport

£77,862 to £93,434 per annum
You will lead a diverse range of services and will be responsible for the delivery of an ambitious and varied Capital Programme of... Darlington, Durham
Recruiter: Darlington Borough Council

Senior Assistant Engineer (Network Management)

£32,234 to £34,728
There are 2 roles available and each role will be pivotal to the Council in delivering statutory duties which fall... Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Team Leader (Network Development)

£37,890 to £40,876
Wirral is home to vibrant, energetic and engaged communities, people who... Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Head of Clean and Green & Leisure

£73,632 - £80,024 per annum
Are you looking for an opportunity to apply your expertise to make a real difference? Walsall, West Midlands
Recruiter: Walsall Council

Assistant Project Engineer

£27,741 - £29,577 per annum
Do you have a passion for civil engineering and construction? Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Clerk of Works [JE1119]

£30,451 – £34,728
We are looking for a Clerk of Works to join our expanding team, supporting the Senior Engineers to deliver on... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

CPP Engineer

£19,698 to £35,745
We have developed a career progression pathway with four stages with a well-defined framework for... Cheshire
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Senior HSEQ Advisor

£35,745
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join North Yorkshire County Council's Shared Health and Safety Service to... North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Service Change Officer - Street Scene

Competitive Salary
The Service Change Team supports Street Scene in improving and delivering high quality services to... Colindale, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Barnet London Borough Council

Information and Monitoring Officer

£26,025 - £38,616 per annum depending on skills
Would you like a role in shaping the planning policies of Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Officer - Parking

£35,745 - £40,876 per annum
As a Senior Parking Officer (Parking Enforcement) you will be responsible for managing parking contracts relating to the issue of... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

£39,880 - £42,821 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity for someone with excellent experience in Traffic Management and Engineering, or related discipline, to... Pembroke, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)
Recruiter: Pembrokeshire County Council

Principal Highway Development Management Officer

£32,910
We seek an enthusiastic and experienced individual to join our small and busy team dealing with all aspects of highway development management. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recruiter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Transport & Parking Services Manager

£45,880 to £51,916 per annum
We are looking for a strategic, innovative, and performance-focused manager to lead our Parking Services team and as... Dover, Kent
Recruiter: Dover District Council

Graduate Bridge Engineer

£22,183 to £25,481 per annum
We are happy to consider all applicants at degree level as well as HND (level 5) higher apprentices. Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

 

Highways England takes on tunnels

Also inside:

  • Legal analysis: What the Brexit trade agreement means for you
  • Maintenance: The heavy-duty kit making light work
View the latest issue

Latest Video