Letters - January 18, 2020

Smart motorways threaten our safety

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 8:00 am
Do you think smart motorways are a danger to drivers and passengers?
Do you think smart motorways are a danger to drivers and passengers?

I refer to the letter concerning smart motorways (Your Say, January 16) and sympathise totally with the concerns of the writer, Mr Andrew Jeffery.

An emergency, by definition, is, “something dangerous or serious, that happens suddenly or unexpectedly”. Like a car breaking down on a motorway. Or maybe a sudden tyre deflation; perhaps running out of petrol. Or the vehicle’s driver suddenly becoming unwell.

From the instigation of the hard shoulder we were informed that, quite rightly, they were there “for emergency use only”. In other words, in case of such an emergency, the motorist had the reassurance of being able to take immediate and safe refuge on that hard shoulder and out of the way of the normal flow of traffic.

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But now, with the introduction of the ‘smart’ (what a misnomer that is!) motorway, the motorist is expected to encounter his unannounced emergency conveniently within easy reach of an ‘emergency refuge area’. These are nothing more than lay-bys, located one and a half miles apart. We are reassured, should a vehicle suddenly stop in a live lane, that technology will take over and flashing signals will neatly and immediately direct traffic around the obstacle. But it has tragically been proven that it takes time for this action to be implemented and sadly several deaths and injuries have already occurred, along with an unknown number of near misses, due to stranded stationary vehicles unavoidably being stopped in the nearside lane.

Hard shoulders were continuous. They were available for any emergency situation at any time. They were used by emergency vehicles as a means of reaching an accident. And it was reassuring to know that the facility was always there. I for one am relieved when I have survived passing through a Smart section, where no permanent hard shoulder exists.

It is obvious that smart motorways compromise safety through the removal of the hard shoulder. They increase the possibility of accidents. They have already been the cause of several deaths.

I understand that The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, is conducting a review into them. For the sake of safety, I urge him to halt their creation and revert to the sensible reassurance of a continuous hard shoulder that is purely there for emergency use.

John Bailie

address supplied


Better to give him a meal and tea

Reference the beggar fined recently by Blackpool magistrates, how is he going to find £177?- beg for it?

I would have thought it more appropriate to give him a hot meal and a cup of tea and send him on his way.

Brian Massey



Are Sussexes going to take a boat?

If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so committed to the fight against climate change, how do they think their additional flights between Britain and North America will contribute to this?

Or do they intend to go by boat, as teenage activist Greta Thunberg recently did?

Henry Cobden

address supplied


Waiting for a bus that will not arrive

I’m wondering how to spend my ‘‘Brexit dividend’’ - you know, the extra money we were promised would arrive from leaving the EU? Maybe a new car, or a holiday (abroad?), perhaps a revamp of the bathroom or kitchen. But I jest, there will be no dividend.

Instead, there will be pain – a lot of it. Probably ending with the collapse of sterling and Boris Johnson, that clown in Downing Street, running to the IMF with a begging bowl.

People are waiting – in the freezing cold – for a bus that will never arrive, to take them to an unknown destination. At some point they will be forced to admit that they have been deceived.

What then?

Robert Reynolds

via email


Is it a ‘I’m backing China campaign’?

I’m sure most of us remember the ‘I’m Backing Britain’ campaign. I think we now need an ‘I’m not backing China’ campaign. By looking at the labels on what we buy, most of our goods etc

are produced there.

We know that their coal-powered plants are proliferating. If we include transportation, the damage to the environment is horrendous and irreversible, to say nothing of the exploitation of labour in that country.

E&J Burnett

address supplied


Sturgeon had her chance

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had her agreed “once in a generation” independence referendum in 2014. Unfortunately she now appears unable to grasp the meaning of the word “generation”. If she looks in her dictionary, she will see that this is a period of around 35 years.

It is time for her to shut up about another referendum and get on with the job for which she was elected.

Bob Watson

address supplied