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Stopping Smart Motorway Rollout

Robert B McIntyre made this Freedom of Information request to Highways England Company Limited

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Robert B McIntyre

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

A national rollout of smart motorways has been put on hold by the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, after they were linked with an increase in the number of road deaths.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/202...

How do you just stop Smart Motorway construction and lay off workers? I would like you to send me writing and reports about this between Highways England the companies you engage and DfT.

I would like to be sent the extra costs this will result in and who is paying.

And the information about the decision not to close some including the M1, M4, M6 and M62. How do you justify stopping a rollout due to smart motorways being linked to more deaths but let the roads responsible remain open? All the information about this.

Yours faithfully,

Robert B McIntyre

Highways England, Highways England Company Limited

This is an automated response:

 

Thank you for your email to Highways England.

 

If you’re reporting a real time issue which requires immediate attention
please call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

 

A map of the roads for which we are responsible can be found here
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Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
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[6][Highways England request email]

 

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Robert B McIntyre left an annotation ()

The problems were known. Why has this happened, who let it? Who is to blame, why are we going to have to meet the bill and how much will it be?
Highways England facing bill of millions for smart motorway retrofit
03/02/2020
Dominic Browne and Chris Ames

With the publication of a government review into smart motorways ‘imminent’, Highways England is facing costs running into many millions to retrofit new safety measures - even on schemes currently being built.
Based on previous comments from transport secretary Grant Shapps, it is likely the so-called smart motorways 'stocktake' will lead to new safety measures such as more frequent emergency refuge areas (ERA) and stopped vehicle detection.

However, schemes currently under construction do not meet these expected new criteria.

Mr Shapps has said that he favours a maximum distance of approximately a mile between ERAs on all lane running (ALR) smart motorway schemes - where the hard shoulder is permanently converted into a live traffic lane - rather than a maximum of a mile and a half at present.

Highways England has previously pledged to introduce this standard from March 2020 on all new schemes.

It confirmed that schemes in construction, including one on the M20 due to open in March and one on the M23 near Gatwick, are being built to the existing standard of one and a half miles between ERAs.

Last week transport secretary Grant Shapps told MPs that no new smart motorways will be opened until he had the 'outcome’ of the ongoing ‘stocktake’ of smart motorways, which he announced in October last year and is now significantly overdue.

However, this has not stopped the construction of the projects. Highways England has confirmed that the construction work is continuing on new ALR schemes, without any reform of the ERA specifications.

A spokesperson told Highways: ‘We look forward to the imminent publication of the DfT’s stocktake and stand ready to implement its recommendations.’

Highways England has similarly pledged to install SVD on all new ALR schemes from 2020 and to retrofit it on existing schemes, albeit without a timetable.

Speaking the House of Commons fellow Conservative MP Tracey Crouch suggested to Mr Shapps the new ALR section on the M20 should not open until improved safety measures such as more frequent ERAs and SVD were put in place.

Mr Shapps declined to confirm whether this would be the case and referred again to the ongoing stocktake.

A Highways England spokesperson told Highways that the stocktake is set to establish the respective costs of changing these schemes to the one-mile spacing, either before they open or subsequently.

In either case, the costs are likely to run into many millions of pounds, including the additional costs of traffic management while the changes are made.
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/Highw...

SES Official Correspondence, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr McIntyre

 

Thank you for your freedom of information request dated 4 February 2020.

 

Please find attached response.

 

Thank you again for contacting us. If there’s anything else we can help
you with please telephone or email our contact centre, 0300 123 5000 or
email [1][Highways England request email].

 

Kind regards

 

Safety, Engineering & Standards

Official Correspondence Team
Highways England
Web: [2]www.highwaysengland.co.uk

 

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
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Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[4][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

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References

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4. mailto:[Highways England request email]

Robert B McIntyre

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Highways England Company Limited's handling of my FOI request 'Stopping Smart Motorway Rollout'.

I ask to be sent the speech quoted.

The Transport Secretary’s words in parliament were “That stretch of the M20, and all
other stretches that are currently being worked on, will not be opened until we have the
outcome of the stocktake.” The Transport Secretary did not say current construction
work would cease.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/6...

Autocar. The UK government has paused all ongoing 'smart motorway' development schemes, as it awaits the results of a review into their safety.

The move, announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps yesterday in the House of Commons, means that a £92 million project to convert a stretch of the M20 in Kent into a smart motorway has BEEN PUT ON HOLD, and could be axed entirely. It will not open as a smart motorway before the results of the review are made public, but a date for this has not been given by the Department for Transport.

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/indus...

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

Robert B McIntyre

SES Official Correspondence, Highways England Company Limited

Dear Mr McIntyre

 

Further to our previous emails, we are now enclosing a link to the
[1]Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan as published
by the Department for Transport, today – Thursday 12 March.

 

Every death in any road accident is tragic, and we are determined to do
all we can to make our roads as safe as possible.

 

We will be taking forward the measures the Secretary of State for
Transport has set out, and we will be improving further our information to
drivers to help them be safer on all of our roads, including our smart
motorway network.

 

Thank you again for contacting us. If there’s anything else we can help
you with please telephone or email our contact centre, 0300 123 5000 or
email [2][Highways England request email].

 

Kind regards

 

Safety, Engineering & Standards

Official Correspondence Team
Highways England
Web: [3]www.highwaysengland.co.uk

 

 

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
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strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[4]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[5][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
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5. mailto:[Highways England request email]

FOI Advice, Highways England Company Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr McIntyre,

 

Please find attached the internal review ref. IR 100807 of your freedom of
information request ref FOI 100807.

 

Kind Regards

 

Jonathan Drysdale

Freedom of Information Officer (HE)

Information & Technology

Highways England | Piccadilly Gate | Store Street | Manchester | M1 2WD

Web: [1]http://highwaysengland.co.uk

 

This email may contain information which is confidential and is intended
only for use of the recipient/s named above. If you are not an intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any copying, distribution,
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strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and destroy it.

 

Highways England Company Limited | General enquiries: 0300 123 5000
|National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park,
Birmingham B32 1AF |
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati... |
[3][Highways England request email]

 

Registered in England and Wales no 9346363 | Registered Office: Bridge
House, 1 Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LZ 

 

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Robert B McIntyre please sign in and let everyone know.