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Chair responds to written ministerial statement on Smart Motorways

21 April 2021

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, has published a one year progress report on its stocktake on smart motorways, in which he says there will be no new smart motorways without additional safety measures.

Reacting to the written ministerial statement, the Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman MP said:

“The Transport Committee is currently in the midst of an inquiry to determine if Smart Motorways are safe. We will consider all options based on the evidence. This may include recommendations for change and whether the roll-out should be paused and hard shoulders reinstated. We will look closely at today’s announcement from Government that Smart Motorway construction will continue. We will consider the evidence basis on which it’s been made.

“Our prior report from 2016 made it quite clear that we challenged the safety and roll-out of Smart Motorways. The safety enhancements and reassurances given to us by Highways England in 2016, and in subsequent years, do not appear to have been delivered in full. For example, in 2016 we were told that stopped vehicle detection technology would be introduced ‘going forward’ for new Smart Motorways and would be retrofitted for the stretches of Smart Motorway already in place. To hear this same commitment today, five years after it was first suggested, begs the question as to why these safety enhancements haven’t been made more quickly. The Government should be prepared to keep an open mind to the recommendations which come forward from our inquiry.”

Further information

Image: Department for Transport/Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)