More motorway all-lane running schemes planned despite safety concerns


Hundreds of miles of hard shoulder on Britain's motorways will be converted into lanes for traffic to use despite safety concerns.

All-lane running (ALR) schemes use the hard shoulder to ease the pressure on busy motorways and they have already been rolled out on dozens of miles of road.

There are currently just over 80 miles of ALR open to traffic but that figure is set to surge.

Almost 250 miles of ALR are set to be added to the road network by 2020 while almost 350 miles are due to be started but not finished up to 2020.

Meanwhile, there are also plans announced for just over 100 miles of ALR to be developed in the period between 2020 and 2025.

Shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood believes the Government needs to do more work to understand the implications of ALR.

"There are real concerns about the way all-lane running has been introduced on our motorways, without adequate evidence or consideration of the safety concerns raised by motoring organisations and the emergency services," she said.

"The lack of public consultation also means that many drivers will be unaware of the changes to the way the road network operates.

"The Government need to address these issues before it is too late, rather than waiting for accidents to happen."

ALR schemes can be used as part of a managed motorway or with the hard shoulder in full-time use, with refuge areas placed at regular intervals for people to use in an emergency.

The existing ALR schemes are on sections of the M25, M1 and M6, according to information published by the Department for Transport in response to written parliamentary questions from Ms Greenwood.

The Commons Transport Select Committee is currently conducting an examination of the safety of all-lane running schemes.

Louise Ellman, the chairman of the committee, told the Press Association: "We are about to start an inquiry in April. This is a major part of transport policy and we want to investigate whether all-lane running is effective and whether it is safe.

"The Government has clearly decided to do this but there is a need to look much more closely at whether it will be effective and whether it will be safe".