GEM welcomes cancellation of new smart motorways

18 April 2023 | David Young

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has welcomed the Government's announcement that no new smart motorways are to be built in the UK

GEM welcomes cancellation of new smart motorways

Prime minister Rishi Sunak had pledged to axe the smart motorway roll-out scheme as part of his campaign for leadership of the Conservative party in 2022. He said that the move has been made because "all drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country".

GEM has for a long time expressed concern at the risks posed by the absence of hard shoulders, the cost-saving increase in distance between refuge areas and the problems relating to vehicles being stranded in motorway lanes.

The organisation has also criticised the lack of clear information relating to the use of smart motorways and called for an end to the use of smart motorway jargon, such as 'all-lane running' and 'live lanes', which will mean nothing to the average driver.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: "The toll of deaths, injuries and near-misses on smart motorways in recent years has been unacceptably high, and public confidence in these roads is seriously lacking.

"We are therefore relieved that the Government has listened to the valid concerns of road safety groups and delivered on its pledge to stop the smart motorway roll-out.

"We remain concerned about safety on existing smart motorways, which now make up around 10 per cent of the entire motorway network. That's why we are urging drivers to familiarise themselves with how smart motorways work and to ensure they keep their cars properly serviced and with plenty of fuel or charge available – to minimise the risks of breaking down."