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Motorways: Accidents

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 206842, tabled on 22 July 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent the Highways Agency keeping motorways out of action for any longer than necessary in the aftermath of incidents.

Answered on

2 September 2014

I agree that roads should be re-opened as quickly as possible following an incident to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, roads do need to be closed when critical infrastructure repairs cannot be performed whilst part of the carriageway remains open. In addition, when an incident has resulted in serious injury or a fatality, the police have a duty to conduct a thorough investigation in accordance with their recently revised Collision Investigation Manual.

A review of the closure procedures for motorway incidents has been undertaken; this has been carried out jointly with the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers, Fire and Ambulance services, Department for Transport (DfT) and the Highways Agency, to identify what can collectively be achieved to reduce incident clear up times.

The review, known as CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act, Re-open) aims to reduce the time taken to re-open motorways following an incident and will minimise both the economic impact of closures and the delay experienced by road users.

In addition, laser scanners are being operated by 27 police forces across England to significantly reduce the time taken to gather essential evidence at incident sites.

At this time, there is no intention of introducing legislation as the Highways Agency is already mandated to reduce the time that motorways are subject to restrictions or closures following incidents.