South Yorkshire Police chief brands Smart Motorways ban a ‘half victory’

South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap new smart motorways, but branded the announcement a ‘half victory’ for the region.
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The roll out of new smart motorways has cancelled as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged concerns about safety and cost.

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Fourteen planned smart motorways – including 11 that are already paused and three earmarked for construction – will be removed from Government road building plans.

South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap new smart motorways, but branded the announcement a ‘half victory’ for the region.South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap new smart motorways, but branded the announcement a ‘half victory’ for the region.
South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap new smart motorways, but branded the announcement a ‘half victory’ for the region.
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The Department for Transport said the construction of these schemes would have cost more than £1 billion.

Existing stretches will remain, but be subjected to a safety refit so there are 150 more emergency stopping places across the network.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s PCC, welcomed the announcement, but accused the government of being ‘illogical’ for not reinstating the hard shoulder in South Yorkshire.

“If, as the government now believes, there are issues about the safety of smart motorways, then those safety concerns apply as much to existing smart motorways as to any new ones,” said Dr Billings.

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“The government believes that existing smart motorways will be made safer by increasing the number of emergency refuges. We have been here before. Why not save the cost and disruption this will entail and simply restore the nearside live running lane as a permanent hard shoulder?

“The government seems to blunder from one expensive mistake to another.

“I remain firmly of the view that having people breakdown or stop for whatever reason in a live lane is inherently dangerous.

“We must press on for a complete change of mind.”