Roads minister Baroness Charlotte Vere has confirmed that motorways’ hard shoulders are not coming back.
In a letter to Claire Mercer, whose husband was killed on the M1 following the hard shoulder’s removal, the minister said re-installing emergency lanes “could cause more deaths or serious injuries on our roads,” the Sunday Telegraph reported.
The minister added that “the government is right to focus on upgrading the safety of all-lane running smart motorways, rather than reinstating the hard shoulder.”
Vere’s comments come less than a week after the UK Government announced it would pause the development of new ‘all-lane’ smart motorways for five years following safety concerns. The project’s safety and economic data will be collected for five years from motorways built before 2020, after MPs in November said there was not enough information on the schemes to move forward, City A.M. reported.
Mercer is calling on the government to choose controlled motorways – which have both hard shoulders and smart motorways’ technology – as they are considered the safest.
“While the baroness says hard shoulders are linked to motorway deaths, I don’t believe she has said how many lives they have saved,” Mercer said. “It feels as though they are playing the game and pretending to tow the line. But the devil is in the detail.
“It appears they have no intention of doing what they are pretending to consider.”