SAFETY FEARS: Could motorway hard shoulders be scrapped for good?

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A government report published today has outlined plans to turn more hard shoulders on motorways into permanent driving lanes.

However, the proposals have not received the backing of the Transport Committee amid safety concerns.

Traffic is projected to increase by up to 60 per cent by 2040 and that the government has been looking at other ways to ease congestion.

The goverment says it has been analysing using the method “all lane running” in which hard shoulders would be coverted into a permanent running lanes.

It is already in use on some parts of the M1 in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, known as the ‘smart motorway scheme’ - but drivers can only use the hard shoulder at peak times or during congestion.

The report states: “While the case for increasing motorway capacity is clear, the earlier forms of smart motorway have, by Highways England’s own analysis, a lower risk profile than ‘all lane running’.

“The type of scheme used on the M42 has a track record of safety and performance, and it is perverse for the DfT to continually lower the standard of the smart motorway specification, while presenting such changes as a logical next step.

“The permanent removal of the hard shoulder is a dramatic shift from previous smart motorway schemes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and each proposal needs to be justified on its own terms.

“The department should not proceed with a major motorway programme on the basis of cost savings while major safety concerns continue to exist.”