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Review of Smart Motorway scheme on M20 and other motorways amid safety concerns

The government is to review its Smart Motorway scheme amid rising concerns about safety.

The project, which will include a six-mile stretch of the M20 between junction 3 for West Malling and junction 5 for Aylesford and Maidstone.

M20 between Junction 4 (Leybourne) and Junction 5 (Aylesford) where a section of Smart Motorway will be introduced. Picture: Barry Goodwin
M20 between Junction 4 (Leybourne) and Junction 5 (Aylesford) where a section of Smart Motorway will be introduced. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch has already raised concerns about safety and last week told the Commons that constituents were "petrified" about the prospect.

There have been 392 crashes on the stretch since work started in July 2018.

The £92 million works, which run through the MP's constituency, are scheduled to be completed in March.

A report due to be published tomorrow accuses Highways England of "a shocking degree of carelessness" about the schemes.

The report is by the all-party group on roadside rescue and recovery, whose members include Tracey Crouch.

It says there should be no further roll-out of Smart Motorways until further research is conducted into their safety.

KMTV examine controversial Smart Motorways

The transport minister Grant Shapps said he was responding to concerns flagged up by a BBC Panorama programme.

It obtained data which revealed that on one section of the M25, outside London, the number of near misses had risen 20-fold since the hard shoulder was removed in April 2014.

It also revealed that there have been 38 fatalities connected with Smart Motorway schemes in five years.

The Department for Transport issued a statement that said: "Transport Secretary Grant Shapps heard the concerns about smart motorways and asked the department to undertake an evidence stock take to gather the facts and make recommendations.

"That work is being undertaken at pace and the results of that work will be announced soon."

Critics say smart motorways are dangerous because they expose drivers whose cars break down to the risk of being hit.

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