In the budget released on Monday, Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed plans to invest £28.8 billion in the National Road Fund but not all seems as it should be. While the huge investment seems to be great news, digging a little deeper shows the true reason behind the decision.
Around £25.3 billion has been sectioned to Highways England to help build and upgrade motorways, with a heavy focus on smart motorways. Smart motorways have long raised suspicion as a cash cow for the government, with £100 fines handed out consistently for all manner of misdemeanours.
Figures show that from when smart motorways were first introduced to the beginning of 2017 a phenomenal £21 million pounds were raised from fines, including speeding and minor transgressions, such as driving in a lane which is closed.
Since then, over 200 miles of smart motorways have been built, double the amount there were previously, leading to the conclusion that an extra £20 million or so could have been raised. It seems clear that the government has realised this potential and so chosen to act on it in order to help generate some revenue for roads.
Variable speed limits have no doubt generated the most in fines, with many people caught out by the sudden changes that can drop to as low as 40mph. Smart motorways are designed to help keep drivers safe and reduce congestion, all which contribute to lowered emissions.
Highways England, speaking to SurreyLive in 2016 said “The government has been clear speed cameras should not be used to generate revenue and the vast majority of motorists are sticking to the speed limits,”
“Variable speed limits on smart motorways are designed to smooth traffic flow, improve journey times and reduce congestion for millions of motorists while also enhancing safety.”
All for the best?
Aside from the cash cow issue, others have condemned the rise in funding for major roads as “not sustainable” and “gearing up to create more pollution that wrecks our climate.”
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald spoke out on the decision to increase funding saying “With car dependency rising, public transport in decline and local roads in a state of disrepair, ramping up spending on major roads is the wrong decision.”
“It simply isn’t sustainable to repeatedly ramp-up major road spending, especially at a time when air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths each year and climate change is threatening a global crisis.”
The climate change argument is one that has been echoed across the industry, especially as grants to buy a new electric car have been cut. There has also been no relief for business who buy electric cars as the tax for low emission company cars to 16% for 2019 and then fall to 2% in 2020, a move discouraged by MPs and industry leaders alike.
“Peeing in the sea?”
Along with the £25.3 billion for roads, Mr Hammond also pledged an extra £420 million for pothole repairs, which would be made available immediately as the backlog from bad weather earlier this year continues to mount.
However, this figure has been dismissed as “peeing in the sea” by Mr Pothole, an anti-pothole campaigner. He pointed out that Kent Council alone had a £630 million backlog, and they had the second highest number of potholes in any county, ahead of Surrey which, back in January had over 6,700 unfixed potholes. The total sum to fix all of the potholes and bring the roads to an adequate state of repair would cost in the region of £9 billion, hence the “peeing in the sea” comparison.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) also commented on this, saying that over 10 years an extra £1.5 billion would be needed to bring the roads to an adequate condition and “halt the ongoing decline.”
In a hidden segment of the budget, a small text portion revealed that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) was going to increase in with RPI from April 2019. With VED now being ring-fenced to help maintain the Strategic Road Network, perhaps the thought process behind the increase was motorists may be happy to pay more if they know that it is going straight on roads.
For some motorists who are buying new cars, they could be paying an increase of up to £65 extra a year, coming into effect on April 1st, 2019, depending on the emissions level of the car. For most drivers this will mean an annual increase of £5 a year on their yearly payments, taking it to £145 for petrol and diesel cars and £135 for hybrids. This is now the third year in a row that VED has increased and another increase is expected in 2020.
Do you think the budget will help or hinder motorists? What do you think about the increase of smart motorways? Let us know in the comments below
Oh boy …. what a portly researched and explained article 🙁
If Smart Motorways do raise £40M in fines that really is a very small amount (c. £2 per car on British roads ). The bigger saving is making our motorways safer and bringing down average driving speeds. The formerreduces accidents saving the Emergency services and the NHS costs, better for the tax payer and the latter reduces pollution, which is better for all those who live nearby. The fuel saved keeps money in our pockets but does cost the Exchequer in lower file duty and VAT.
Oh and just who is “Shadow Chancellor Andy MacDonald”
actually in many cases (due to higher vehicle gearing) lower speeds often DONT reduce pollution. lets use my own car as an example, as i know its figures best. pollution is directly linked (in theoretically identical cars) to MPG SO when im out and about and someone is dawdling about at 45-50mph on a 60mph limit road, im having to sit in 5th gear (instead of 6th) and get about 38-42mpg (as seen on the dash computer, accuracy is irelevant as it will be the same percentage out across the board, if it IS inaccurate) HOWEVER if the road then widens out so i can legally do 65-70 (indicated) and i can get into the engines torque band (it prefers being around 1800-2000 rpm, maybe a bit more if it were legal) and i can then use 6th gear comfortably and get 55-60mpg. so yes im still burning a gallon of fuel AND emitting the pollution associated with it (a gallon of fuel is a gallon of fuel, pollution wise) BUT im travelling 15-20 miles further whilst doing so, so are you really certain lower average speeds reduce pollution? most research on the subject hasnt been redone since the 1970s/80s when even a 5 speed gearbox was rare, and cars were MUCH less aerodynamic so the info is WELL out of date now
Pete, you are correct. Years ago I borrowed a meter that checked the exhaust gasses. I placed an instrument into the exhaust pipe and the rest of the equipment was in the car next to me. When driving below average speed the needle would go into the red zone indicating very rich. After increasing my speed the meter then went over to read lean. Proof if you drive too slow the pollution is greater.
You are absolutely correct I have a automatic and it has 7 gears but I have to put it in manual mode to get it in 7th because in the automatic mode it doesn’t go into 7th until your doing above 75
Lower speeds may not reduce pollution, but steadier speeds (less barking and accelerating) certainly do. My experience of smart motorways is that the traffic flow is much smoother.
Driving in a closed lane a minor transgression? Really? Ever thought that lanes may have been closed for a reason, such as to protect the occupants and other motorists of a stranded vehicle, mechanics changing a tyre or ambulance , police , fire and rescue or traffic officers putting their lives on the line with traffic doing 70mph in close proximity?
Totally agree with you, Who thinksthisup. Obviously, there is a valid reason. I once knew a woman whose husband and another chap, were killed on the M6 putting out cones (they worked for the Highways Dept) and were hit by a suicidal maniac (which of course, you cannot legislate for). So people should be severely punished for this indiscretion. There is some pretty abysmal driving on the M/ways at the best of times.
How about when they had the overhead signs showing the inside 3 lanes of the M25 being closed for an accident starting at least 2 miles before the actual coned off area? Traffic was solid for miles back to the M26. With nobody willing to let you in front of them it was actually difficult to get across before passing under the red cross mark and as we could see exactly where the problem was the traffic just kept crawling in the inside lanes, ignoring the red crosses, until we could finally get across. I wonder how many thousands of drivers got a warning letter in the post same as me as a result? Thankfully no fine as I’d have been really p***ed off
other people managed to run in the open lanes…. because they performed the change of lane in good time… its called planning…
All those people who leave the change of lane to the last minute to jump the queue and then try to push in deserve a ticket.
Don’t fully agree Trickcyclist. If everyone changed lane “in good time” this would have the effect of extending the closure area backwards. A better solution is to enforce one-car merging at the point of clusure. This maximises road space, ensures a fair play and sets a rule that if obeyed religiously allows everyone to know when their turn arrives. The USA has 4-way crossroads where each arriver in turn gets priority. It works.
It works because drivers in the US and Canada know the rule and follow it, simple as that!
On the other hand, most mainland European teaching is to proceed as far as possible in the closing lane, and then “zipper” into the next lane – and that’s with the full cooperation of the drivers in that lane.
That’s how it should work. Unfortunately we brits have no patience and are too anxious to get ahead of everyone else.
No Dave, quite the opposite – too many uk motorists think they need to get in the queue and be patient and everyone else should fall in behind. Then get upset and angry when the intelligent ones read and use the road as it should be.
At several sets of lights at crossroads in my locale, the roads have been planned and built to have two lanes at the junctions both for straight on, and turning left/right as appropriate, with two lanes at the exit to merge into on the opposite side of the junction, thus allowing a greater volume of traffic through at each light change cycle, but 95% of motorists queue in the left hand lane meaning that the intended flow of traffic that the junction is designed for is never reached, the queues for the junction are excessive even during the quieter times of day, and pollution levels are far higher than they should and could be.
Exactly – most people seem to forget the “merge in turn” aspect of the highway code.
I’d query the use of the word “intelligent” and replace it with “pushy, arrogant”. Having been thoroughly cheesed off by the actions of drivers who go as far as the obstacle (lane closure) then try to push in front of the middle lane, which then stops the traffic in the two inner lanes as drivers try to work around the new obstacle without causing damage. An indicator isn’t “I’m coming in, move over!” but “can you let me in, please?” There were 800 metres to the closed lane (unlimited German autobahn, so very high-speed traffic most of the time), (yes, I was keeping up!), yet a 6-hour drive across the country turned into a 9-hour stressor. INTELLIGENT drivers would first ensure that they had somewhere to go before making their manoeuvre! Like the ones who changed lane early (“zipper”) and were subsequently blocked by the selfish, discourteous morons.
Unfortunately UK junctions are not designed to a single common pattern and so 95% of motorists will not use the right hand lane at a crossroad as there is a good chance that somebody in front will be turning right but be unable to complete their manoeuvre until all traffic from the opposite direction has cleared the junction.
And more often than not, the person intending to turn right doesn’t indicate until the light changes to green, so anyone behind them can’t get on with their journey without having to move to the left lane… assuming they can get in!!
Merge like a zip. It’s really that easy. And you can use all available lanes at the same time.
I understand where your coming from but if it was me I would not continue in any lane that had a red cross as I would not want to give them any excuse to fine me and would try to inch over into the next lanes until I was in a correct lane to proceed, which could take some time as there doesn’t seem to be any curtesy on the roads anymore.
I completely agree and signed in here today specifically to say this point but I will add my comment to yours instead.
That is the stupidest and most irresponsible piece of “journalism” I have heard in a long time.
Lets barrel down a closed lane because I am more important than everyone else and kill some children sitting in their parents broken down car, or the emergency worker helping them out.
Perhaps that £100 fine will teach them a lesson because if they complain at that they would really complain at being hit by a “death by dangerous driving” when their stupid actions kill someone!
Also, the speed limits do not “suddenly” reduce to 40 MPH, “catching people out” there is at least 10 minutes between the signs slowly lowering the speed limit (in 10mph steps) and the enforcement cameras actually activating so next time try and learn the first thing about the technology before writing about it.
If you drive correctly and responsibly (as do the huge majority) it will not cost you a penny, and am happy for the small minority of inconsiderate idiots to subsidise the treasury as much as they choose to until they decide to follow the rules.
Paul you have not though you comment through, you say there is at least 10 minutes between the signs slowly lowering the limit. In 10 minutes at 60 mph how far do you think you travel, yes it’s 6 miles….Are you therefore going to travel 6 miles before the next reduction?? I doubt it. Perhaps you should take you own advice and think before posting.
Dave you have not thought your answer through! In 10 minutes at 60mph you will travel 10miles.
Actually, you’d travel 10 miles…
That’s not what he said. Read it again
DaveB, just to clarify – Paul said a) that the speed limit reduces in 10 mph steps, so it does not go from derestricted to 40mph in one step and b) he said that the cameras are not activated for 10 minutes after a speed reduction, not that the next 10 mph increment is 10 minutes away.
Join the discussion…It sounds to me that all you lot haven’t a clue what you are talking about. All you have to remember, is, that the speed camera is not activated till one minute after the speed reduction is illuminated, giving you plenty of time to adjust your speed.
That is only based on assumption that lanes are closed for the reason and with careful consideration about motorists and the queues. However that is never the case – 3 lanes closed on m25 because broken down car hard shoulder?! How is that justified?! Hard shoulders are added specifically for that reason that you don’t need to close the lanes for broken car…
Every motorway I have used before and is now converted to dumb-smart motorway became worse – more congestion, longer queues, longer overall travel times. The so called “smoothing out” in reality just creates those so called phantom jams which it specifically aims to prevent – this is especially evident when going other way around and you can see the congestion starts exactly where variable limit reduction is in place and dispersal straight before and straight after.
I would only agree with your comment if the control of the signs would be 100% correct always, which is definitely not the case – they being continuously abused with pretence of false “safety”. You know what it is called – nanny state!
What about finally setting modern speed limit of say 90-100MPH and properly training drivers like in Germany?! why don’t Germans need to crawl at 40MPH to be “safe” and why they don’t need to close 3 lanes for minor accident and police/medics can get to the accident by filtering and hard shoulders? Why British should need entire 3 lanes just for ambulance?
Phantom jams are much worse on the parts of motorways without variable limits
Totally agree with linas, miss managed motorways are a joke, they cause jams by putting up stupid 40mph at Birmingham every day. No traffic in sight then on pops the 40mph sign for instant traffic jam. When there was a power cut a few weeks ago there was no jam. Knobs who can’t get up to the posted speed are another problem too.
Linas, like everyone I’m p****d off when the signs are wrong, but I’d rather be p****d off and late than go against the signs and kill or injure someone.
I drive frequently on a smart motorway and you are wrong, the speeds do not drop down in 10 mph steps and there is not always 10 minute gaps.
Tantamount to support of drivers that pay absolutely no adherence to the Highway Code and hack us all off
I totally agree with this comment. As a motorway worker I can’t think of how many times I’ve nearly been wiped out by some idiot ignoring the fact a lane is closed so that they don’t get inconvenienced. The fines should be double what they are then idiot drivers might learn they are closed for a reason.
How can we have any faith in any of the “facts,” figures or content in this article when it can’t even get the name of the Shadow Chancellor right? John McDonnell is the 2nd most prominent member of the current Labour Party and you’ve called him Andy McDonald. Clearly this article hasn’t been proof read or fact-checked. What else isn’t correct?
I think the writer was referring to the shadow transport minister, getting the role wrong, not the person’s name…… still, they should check before posting.
Might as well be Old MacDonald on his farm…all Labour spout is nonsense
With the constant decline of services and the ever increasing elitist farming of poorer people to pay for services enjoyed by the rich I can only advise you to reconsider your opinion of the only party that has any interest in supporting ordinary people or f**k off.
So, WE should ALL reconsider OUR opinion to fit in with your view. Strangely, you don’t say which party – but with your profanity I can guess.
I love democracy – the majority get their way 🙂
The so xalled “smart motorway” that has been built on the M60, taking many years of motorist misery whilst being done, no doubt costing the taxpayer £billions. Has made NO improvements whatsoever!!! There are still long tailbacks in both directions between J18 and J1. So yes its just another cash cow. However its doesn’t even fullfil that criteria either because for the most part, traffic is at a standstill, moving at less than 5mph!!! What a complete waste of public money?
Who is it that comes up with these crazy so called omprovement ideas? They should be held to account for the miss appropriation of public funds!!!
£25.3 billion spend and the real reason behind this is a £20 million ‘cash cow?
Great investment !
I believe the£20 million was gathered from their existing smart roads… The investment of billions will create many, many more miles of these smart roads, so the returns to the government will be proportional. Also, these will presumably be here for good so that’s £20 million X whatever, every year… That’s how we understand it anyhow. Regardless, they’re dogs using these methods to stealth tax people. As someone commented, we need to receive monies from all road users, foreign drivers included like the French, Swiss, Austrians etc…
The UK spends less on major roads than most EU countries with a similar population. Roads are not constructed properly in the first place, hence the higher level of maintenance and the fixing of the growing numbers of potholes. Up to 90 per cent of VED should be spent on roads and a larger proportion than at present gathered from fuel duty should also be spent and not used as a method of gathering taxes to pay MPs and Civil Servants higher payrises each year.
Paul, Construction standards aren’t really the issue, it’s more the use of surface treatments as a quick and relatively low-cost sticking plaster compared to proper resurfacing and renewals. MPs have had substantial pay rises, allegedly to attract the best “talent” (people can define that as they wish) but there are many sources of taxation that fund this with no hypothecation. On the other hand, I understand civil servants have had real terms pay cuts every year since 2010.
I take exception to the statement re civil servants getting higher pay rises each year, I was a lowly admin officer until a stroke finished my employment, however my wife continues to work in the same benefits department, and has been a civil servant for about 20+ years now. In the last 10 years she has received no pay rise whatsoever, and an erosion of her hard won “rights”, such as flexi hours, (yes, flexi if you can find a colleague to take your place on the phone lines) so please don’t peddle that age old story of the cushy tea-drinking job. It does not exist!
Sorry Dominic, but Patrick actually stated MP’s having pay rises, whilst Civil Servants actually getting real-term pay cuts. I know, my wife used to do the same job as yours – although she was lucky and managed 1% over 10 years..
Dominic was objecting to Paul Youden’s comment, not Patrick’s. Paul Youden did talk about “gathering taxes to pay MPs and Civil Servants higher payrises each year”.
The article and this discussion are about the amount of VED paid by motorists as compared
with the amount spent (or not!) on the road network and maintenance. The article makes a very good point about the Chancellor’s so called £28 billion.
We will all have our own opinion of the salary and pay rises for MPs and Civil Servants but really they are irrelevant to this debate.
Nothing new here, the Government has long been using the motorist as a cash cow. I’m all for variable speed limits on Motorways, including increasing them to 80mph when conditions allow, like when they are quiet in the dead of night, but that is probably when most of the revenue is actually made.
As for calling, driving in a closed lane, ‘a minor transgression’, get real, it’s down right dangerous.
It’s when you have gone past the reason for the closure, and it’s still 3 miles to the next overhead sign saying it’s now open again.. would that be wrong
And what if there were two incidents in the same lane? Obey the law, don’t try to second guess the instructions.
There should be more information signs saying things like “further incident ahead” then. Thank God they don’t say “Spray Slow Down” anymore
So, are you saying the signs should be placed every 100 yards, just so you can get back on your way, jackass.😒😒
When travelling abroad we are required to pay tolls,(France & Italy) or buy a vignette (Swiss & Austrian). It is time to change our road tax structure so that there is a defined amount for motorways within the current road tax rates, say £100 for tax and £40 for cars and a similar split for lorries for motorways etc, then every foreign car or lorry needs to buy a vignette or pay the Motorway premium on entering the country at the ports. We also had to pay a ‘city tax’ at every hotel of 1-2 euros to help fund the local area services. Why are we so daft as to provide everything to everybody buckshee.
That suits the French whose non motorway roads are a pleasure to drive, but could you imagine what the roads in the west Midlands and around London would be like if the M25 and M6 traffic decided they were to drive on the a roads.ro avoid tolls?
For Switzerland and the Czech Republic you buy the vignette on entry into the country, stick it in the windscreen and it can therefore be immediately seen (or not). Would be an EXCELLENT idea for foreign truck drivers…
Many people seem to be unaware that since April 2014 all foreign lorries over 12 tonnes entering the UK have to pay the Road User Levy.
That is very true. The Swiss roads are a dream to drive even in Snow as they are really smooth and free from potholes. We paid lots of City tax when stayed in any city in Switzerland. Why we don’t have similar system? Why Brits have to carry the burden of someone foreign?
Plus the amount local Authories are paying in compensation to motorist who’s cars are damage by potholes.
Perhaps they should close the side roads which have portholes to save money.
Spending the saving on more needed things for pensioners
Driving in a closed lane is not a minor thing, I am a patrol and when you are working in a closed lane and some idiot comes up on you in the dark and rain it is dangerous. It is only time before said idiot kills a patrol.
It’s when you have gone past the reason for the closure, and it’s still 3 miles to the next overhead sign saying it’s now open again.. would that be wrong
yes.unless you want overhead signs every 100 yards.
Do I want to live in the sort of country where people are fined for committing road traffic offences? Yes ! If you don’t want to contribute to a cash cow, don’t commit offences.
As someone who drives lorries for a living I spend most of my working day on motorways, and wherever I go I try to adhere to road signage. Yesterday whilst driving along the m6 just before junction 6 the gantry signs were set to 50 so I was doing just under that, traffic was flowing ok but it was busy as usual. I was within maybe 20 feet of a gantry when it changed form 50 to 40 (so close in fact I only just saw it change in the top of my vision… There is no way at that speed including reaction time then braking distance that I could have ever lost some or any of that speed not to mention the danger of just slamming your breaks on on a busy motorway.
Yet law makers have said that constabularies don’t have to set a buffer time (although most do around a minute or so) so in theory I could have easily been done for speeding for quite literally doing nothing wrong.
You say “don’t do the crime” but when the system can be so easily exploited by those with power, how can we be anything but cynical of the system.
Just to put your mind at rest, you’ll be fine – the cameras don’t take the lower speed limit into consideration for between 60 and 90 seconds after the change.
I don’t think that the government coffers are going to be filled by those drivers passing the signs just as they change. There are plenty that just ignore the signs. These are the cash cows that complain about it afterwards.
I absolutely agree these so-called smart motorways are definitely designed to catch honest drivers out with the constantly & ever changing speed limits which are not to help ease traffic but simply to generate the government lots of dirty money in speeding fines – it’s an absolute disgrace!!!!! 👎👎👎
surely, no matter how much the speed limit changes, if you are CONCENTRATING on your driving there should be no problem. Doing around 30k miles a year I see horrendous things going on in cars , especially on motorways. Drivers are becoming more lazy as the car takes over their driving, with smart sensors telling them this and that, they get lazy waiting for the car to warn them, rather than keeping eyes on the road. AND the worst offenders seem to be in the most expensive cars, especially where holding mobile phones are concerned. MOST modern cars, especially in the higher price bracket, have extremely good Bluetooth connections available so, theoretically, in the fullness of time there should be no need to hold a phone whilst in a car.
Only problem is if you’re concentrating on your speedo to make sure you’re compliant with the indicated speed limit on the gantry rather than just going with the flow of traffic then you’re not concentrating on your driving. The Welsh recently removed a 50MPH fixed camera on the M4 westbound through Port Talbot as it was causing accidents with people panicking and braking. They’ve replaced it with average speed cameras now but you still get the idiots who don’t seem to understand and brake “just in case” when they see the camera. I’ve even seen that where the cameras have big signs on them saying “Camera not in use”. *SIGH*
Paul I saw a sign near Sheffield advising of snow and 30mph at 5.30am ,it was snowing, it still advised snow and 30mph 5 hrs later in the sunshine and dry roads , no snow. please advise as a patrol car went past me doing nearly 60 as was everyone else, could I have been causing a danger doing 30 as I was told
motorist being stiffed AGAIN? no surprise there. as always THEY are the UK cash cow, hitting those who need the help the most (low income families) as not everyone has a bus or a tube train 2 mins from their door, every few minutes. in fact we have a grand total of 2 buses per WEEK where i am from and the nearest train station is too far away to get to without a car (and WAY more expensive, especially for more than 1 person) so a car is essential, yet despite being on a ‘minimmum wage’ contract (as most jobs are around here) WE still get hit hard, just like the people in London who are hit equally or less hard, have alternatives to using a car AND earn, in some cases, over 3 times as much for the exact same job!
At the end of the day, it is still a voluntary tax. It’s your choice drive within the rules and don’t pay, break them and pay.
Is it not about time we put VED and maybe Insurance as well, on to the price of fuel, AND insist that foreign vehicles either have limited fuel tanks, or, are made to refuel BEFORE returning abroad.
An increased number of foreign vehicles, lorries especially, wear out our roads without contributing a penny to their upkeep.
Surely this has to change, and change for the better.
So an 20 year old that has had a few accidents and a 40 year old that hasn’t had any any would effectively pay the same insurance. That’s not going to work!
What about a 40 yearold with a few accidents, written off cars, gone flying off the road during winter, drink driving, smoking when driving ect ect ect will pay the same amount as a 20 year old with 3 years no claims and no accidents? don’t discriminate on age. I’m 22 and I have no accidents all my no claims I have had a few near misses due to “older” people and one time was taken out on my motorbike by a “seasoned” gentleman in a land rover. Being older doesn’t always make things better…
Why not, the folk of GB got so upset when there was a fairer way of households paying for council services being introduced – i.e. the ‘poll tax’, where each member of a household of 5 adults or a couple occupying a similar house, would each pay pro rata their own fair share towards the services they used, rather than the council tax/rates, where the couple subsidize the house of 5.
Once upon a time PetrolPrices used to be just that – a way of getting details of local petrol prices. Now it comes with this hate newsletter, trying to incite hatred amongst motorists about quite reasonable things, such as being prosecuted for using a closed lane. Clearly it’s written by reporters from the Daily Mail, the Express and the other gutter press. I’m out of here. Goodbye pp
You don’t have to read it! I do so occasionally as I find the apoplectic comments from the Mail readers amusing.
I’m a Mail reader. I’m not apoplectic. 🙂
In a certain section of our society nowadays, if one is not avowedly left wing, one is automatically considered a member of the right wing lunatic fringe.
Yes, used to be a simple service about saving the motorist money, but then it went premium, so the pennies you saved came at a cost, oh the irony!
More Smart motorways – good! Hopefully the cameras can be set to catch the idiots! Last night (around 22.00hrs) two lanes of 4 closed for work party. 40mph on outer 2 lanes. Most cars complying apart from one doing about 80 eventually had to brake hard. Road works cleared then had car ‘hogging’ lane 3 at 62mph. Not to overtake on inside moved out and flashed to let him know was going to pass,moving from CLEAR lane 1 to 4, indicated to pull back across, he then sped up came within inches of my back bumper with full headlights and fog lights blazing! And then moved into lane two to pass me and make gesticulations through window at me. Then slowed down to 62 again. As it happened it didn’t worry me as motorway opened to five lanes for an exit lane, which I was taking! Pity these people who hog lanes don’t get caught and fined!
M25 driver. You CAN undertake on a motorway in certain circumstances – see rule 242. Install rear and forward facing recording cameras, upload the images to your local police force when logged………and wait for them to do nowt.
Driving in a lane whilst the one to your left if clear is a bookable offence these days. Never known it to be policed though.
Needs to be enforced! Causes congestion on outside lane, and can lead to other motorists taking risks to get past. Many drivers need to be re-educated.
the drivers who do this sort of thing are usually little men with no guts ,if they are not in their cars they are meek and mild who use the car as a safe haven. They are in all walks of life gutless spineless little turds
You can undertake on a motorway providing the person you are undertaking is not meeting or exceeding the posted speed limit.
Sadly, the so-called “smart” motorways aren’t themselves smart, since the speed limits are set by operators. They seem to operate without reference to actual driving conditions so that a speed reduction is posted when there is no need for it (in particular they seem to be set at certain times in anticipation of jams and thus lead to jams!). The result is that many motorists start to distrust them and believe that they are being set simply to raise revenue.
Smart motorways are an inherently good idea that is poorly implemented. Smart motorways need smart operators – not the ones they have.
Sorry, I don`t agree that smart motorways are a good idea, they are death & injuries waiting to happen, the hard shoulder is already a dangerous place with deaths & injuries happening , without one they can only increase. The government are doing this to increase road capacity instead of spending the money on widening the roads, most of the roads in the UK have reached & exceeded their capacity,what is now needed is a proper road updating review and proper action taken to increase the road capacity
Penalizing the motorist is the easy way out for the government to make money and screw hard working people who are on the road and trying to make a living. If we would all get together we can stop it
Baffled about the potholes issue – driving over 1000 miles in France last month and ONLY ONE POTHOLE (on a motorway services sliproad) – not only are the motorways silky smooth (and not just the peages), but the ordinary roads are fine too. Yes they have less traffic per mile of road, but they have many more miles. WHY (especially Surrey and Kent) are our roads simply not properly built in the first place?
Agreed! Drove on the Spanish roads from Santander north to France and was stunned at the quality of the roads in a country that’s supposed to be next to bankrupt!
The French roads weren’t as good but still better than ours.
Can it be simply pressure of traffic that erodes our road surfaces so quickly or have we been stiffed yet again with c**p expensive contracts for poor work??
They were properly built in the first place, but over time governments have increased the weight of lorries allowed in this country, thus increasing wear and tear, while this current government has cut funding for road repairs significantly which means that we now have a backlog of over £10 billion just to get our roads back up to a reasonable standard.
Nothing to do with lorry weight richard. We’re only allowed 44 tonnes here in uk on 6 axles and air suspension. You can run 44 on 5 in Europe and 60 tonnes on 6. Its cheap road building but we have different tarmac, because of all the rain, which isn’t as hard wearing as European tarmac.
I think it’s more to do with our (UK) population density (and hence car number/traffic) we have triple the pop density of Spain, and over double that of France. Beaing in mind that the population density numbers are for the UK (scotland actualy skews our figures downards). We also import alot of goods from Europe, so I would assume HGV/Freight usage of our roads is higher (and on restricted routes).
Why do we continually pay for “patching” potholes badly; and, when using the same road 24-48hours later – the patch repair has disappeared.
Penalizing the motorist is the easy way out for the government to make money and screw hard working people who are on the road trying to make a living. If we would all get together we can stop it. Of course safety goes first but changing the speed limit every half a mile is not the reason of safety it’s more about covering expenses and making money we as drivers have to concentrate with everything around us and a million signs that are very confusing on top of that they change the limit every half a mile I feel it’s done with one reason in mind and that is to make a big fat Revenue
Whenever the government spends on roads it is with a view to raising money. How come they will spend millions on Smart motorways but won’t give local councils money to repair potholes.
Yet again the mortorist is hit with more taxes on the sly, typical, its the rich that can afford the cost, the normal person in the street is going to be worse off again, rich have had taxes CUT for them, and again we get increased cost when we can just manage the cost, we pay alsorts of taxes to every government in the UK and the swines know we have to pay them or try a bus, havee these mps tried getting a bus outside of london, i need my car after breaking my back and can only walk very short distance, do they care do they HELL they keep getting 12% pay rise a year, not bad on 74K plus expensive and we all know what they claim for.
My insurance is half of my road tax yet my car is only 1800cc my road tax is £250 and if I have read this correctly it’s going up again
Yes they put it up every year mine was 295 last year so will likely be 305 this year as they put 5 quid on now on the qt then add another 5 just before it’s due , I always get that red writing at the bottom of the page saying about budget increases. I thought too that co2 ratings cars wouldn’t go up? Ha, if you have a little fart box it won’t.
Time to buy Costain Shares then – they are the Smart Motorways people.
You could have said the same for Carillion and look where they ended up…
Many automatic cars have to reach about 55mph before they engage “direct drive” or ?overdrive. It would help reduce fuel consumption if speed limits on motorways where roadworks existed had speed limits raised to 55mph instead of 50mph. Unless traveling at 55mph did not actually attract a penalty? Perhaps someone has already said this. If so, apologies!
As I drive quite a lot on the M62 to Liverpool and Manchester the smart speed restrictions are all ways on even when the sun is shining, and no reason for the restrictions.
The only reason the speed cameras are on is to catch motorists out witch is disgusting and it’s about time we took action like they do in France and Spain to put a stop to what they are doing.
Yes I think we need to start a new petition (Leave Our Roads Alone) to protest at the inefficiency, hypocrisy and pain that we ever suffering motorists have to endure in the name of improvement. I don’t remember being asked if I thought it would be a good idea to spend vast sums of public money, put up with years of never ending road works and unnecessary speed limits just to put up some signs that will guarantee to add time and misery to your journey. Perfectly good roads everywhere are being continuously earmarked for ‘upgrade to smart motorway’ which makes my heart sink when I see the signs – implying a promise of a better future. After completion of these upgraded sections I have never thought ‘this is a great improvement’ or in fact anything positive. More road clutter and visual ‘noise’ only adds to the stress and confusion actually making things potentially more dangerous. I have yet to see any evidence that these upgrades actually improve things but I wonder is there anyone making pots of money from this……hmmm
Suggesting that the government are spending £29 billion because they raised £21 million is a bit of a misnomer, surely? That’s 0.1% of the spend back in fines – not exactly a sound financial plan. That would take 1,000 years to pay back the investment. These are two facts but I’m not really sure that one motivates the other.
Drivers cause ALL accidents and all other problems found on the road Roads are improved ,cars are safer in an accident but VERY LITTLE is done about these drivers How a minimum ban for all motoring offences of maybe 5 years and 5years in prison for anyone caught driving while banned even if they have almost completed their ban Fines do very little to deter most only a few
Not true bishbut. I had a bad accident on what is now the M62/M60 junction. I lost control. Within a fortnight slippery road signs appeared at that point. Within three months the road was resurfaced using Shell Suregrip.
At my court hearing (driving without due care and attention) I had a file three inches thick, kindly provided by the Highways Agency. They also wrote a covering letter stating that in their opinion the road surface (at the time of my accident) was “conducive of loss-of-control accidents”.
Sadly, my barister was a donkey, failed to submit this properly and it was rejected. I got three points. I’m not (too) bitter but it taught me several things: Don’t trust barristers, assume the police will prosecute no matter and be aware of bad road surfaces.
Running a closed lane is far from a ‘minor transgression’! Lanes are closed for a reason…either because there is an obstruction such as an RTC, live lane breakdown or debris….or because the lane needs to be kept clear for emergency services to access an incident where the SMART motorway has ‘all lane running’ – hence why the closure may be in situ to the nearest junction behind. Where the existing hard shoulder is used a a running lane during busy periods, motorists still flout the rules by using it when they shouldn’t, thus endangering the lives of drivers who have broken down or the recovery agents. Sadly, the ‘Jeremy Clarkson School of Motoring’ has no consideration for others! As a medic I have seen the carnage that closed lane abuse can cause…and it isn’t pleasant. Try working on a motorway or trunk road and you may reconsider!
Perhaps a solution to the frequent fines that Smart Motorways generate is for the Government to simply fine every motorist upfront a thousand pounds a year when you get a licence. Then at the end of twenty years or so, the motorist can apply in triplicate to an obscure Government department for some of their money back. If you can prove you have committed no transgressions…ever. Or you get several transgressions a year completely ‘free’.
Think of the Government administration it will save.
Bet old ‘Spread Fear’ Hammond will love that one!
Have any of the blockheads ever wondered why drivers ignore the matrix.? I,ll tell you why. It,s because the idiots who “feed” them forget to turn them off. I travelled on the M5 last night and the matrix reduced the speed limit to 20mph due to an” incident”, suddenly after 3 signs it was all clear. Did we see anything? Of course not..
The robots need a kick up the bum
To describe spending and driving in a closed lane as minor misdemeanors is crass idiocy. When lanes are closed it’s for a reason, such as an incident or people working in the road. To drive in a closed lane not only annoys those observing the signage it also puts lives at risk. Inappropriate speed is a major factor in road traffic incidents and contributes to many deaths every year. Driving at the correct speed is a matter of conditioning your driving to comply, rather than to see what you can get away with. Driver’s tend to be much better behaved when there’s an average speed camera system, as there’s no incentive to pass the car in front if they’re at the speed limit.
Most cars these days have cruise control, use it, you’ll stay within the limit and you can adjust it up or down as traffic conditions and signage changes.
That’s supposed to be speeding not spending. Predictive text error.
Lane 1 is downright dangerous as there is no hard shoulder. The smart motorways are a fine form of population control. Just you wait til you drive down lane 1 with no warnings to come across a stationary stranded vehicle. The few minutes or more it takes for them to turn on the red x is deadly. Consider that other motorists don’t follow overtaking rules and will just sit next to you hogging lane 2 [“move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in”;highway code rule 163] and there is a crash barrier where there used to be a hard shoulder so you have no escape route. In fog carnage can result even at 50mph and will those monitoring the motorway from control rooms be able to see stranded vehicles in fog. There are going to be some real nasty pile ups that will bring this cheap and dangerous way of increasing motorway capacity to an end.
As a regular user of the M1 between Jct 31 & 36 we always,twice a day have a 60mph limit imposed . How many of the cameras are working as the numerous drivers who seem to think it does not apply to them amazes me. This morning after setting the cruise control at around the 60 mark at least 30+ vehicles went past (some well in excess of 70)In theory over that short distance they should collect enough points to lose their licence. At least it would be extra room on the road.
Where is the proof that smart motorways actually work. How can slowing traffic down, sometimes to a crawl possibly decrease journey times. I think the whole system is flawed and what scares me the most is the amount of money the government is throwing at it.
If you dont speed, you dont get fined
if you don’t speed you don’t get fined.
Whilst it may seem like a cash cow, and I personally hate the Govenment way that the only way to change behaviour is by monetary penalty, £40 Million a year, is not a very good return on £28 billion, so I’m pretty sure that fines raised would not have really been on the agenda when this was decided on.
I would not agree driving in a closed lane is a minor transgeression. It was probably closed because of a broken down vehicle further on.
I think the government is building up to something that most motorists aren’t going to like one little bit. When diesel and petrol vehicles disappear the tax on fuel will go with them so an alternative will have to be found, if it hasn’t already, hence smart motorways, increases in v.e.d. stricter MOT requirements for the petrol and diesel vehicles still on the road, higher fines for infringements and so on, plus more that I just can’t think of right now. The government insists that they do not treat motorists as cash cows but the evidence speaks for itself.
Investing billions for a return of millions seems poor economics to me. Perhaps Phil got his decimals messed up.
Lane closure, never understood why the UK doesn
t adopt the German method, they close off the fast (outer) lane first, which doesnt have the same problems as the majority of the traffic are in the inside or middle lane. Then they stream the now perfectly running two lanes away from the upcoming closed lane, simples……
In my experience as a professional driver, variable speed limits are the major cause of bunching and delays on ‘smart’ motorways. Inevitably cars/vans/lorries will close up on the vehicle in front as the traffic slows. That makes it more difficult to change lanes when there is a closure and so some traffic slows even further. Put those together and you get much longer delays. Look at how the variable limits on the M25 cause serious bunching and long tailbacks, often for no reason other than someone in the control room thinks they should slow down the traffic. So often, there is no other cause for the delaying tactics.
And when they make mistakes and cause drivers problems, it’s on we’re sorry and that’s it if you do something it’s give us your money, kind of one sided if you ask me
I see VED is to increase in line with RPI. Unfortunately my pension, which was promised to increase by RPI, is now increased in line with CPI
There needs to be an overall transport strategy, cars, lorries, trains, buses, trams etc and how they’re used in different environments (city, town and rural). There needs to be an understanding and debate of how electric cars (and their electricity) are taxed.
I do suspect that govt at all levels will use, so called smart roads and electronic tracking to generate fines as well as tolls. In New York City, the electronic tolls now coming into force (they’ve done away with toll booths) are generating much more than the normal tolls, as the system is unfairly applied and it’s not even possible to hire a car and drive out of NYC on the same day without incurring fines (on top of the tolls). These systems can work but govts need to apply fair rules, evenly and incrementally.
Smart motorways are a joke. The variable speed limits do NOT achieve a smoothing of traffic flow, rather the opposite as they are the main cause of congestion and queues. Traffic at 60 mph when stropped in a queue creates at least ONE mile of jam EVERY MINUTE. So these unnecessary fluctuations in speed limits (with little notice requiring sudden breaking from 70 mph to say 40 mph to avoid a fine) create not only pollution but a half-mile jam EVERY MINUTE. The M25 flows well at 70 mph when no variable speed limits in use but because of the constant changes from 40 to 50 to 60 to 70 – in any order, up and down simply create jams and pollution. Very rarely is there an incident, despite some “invented messages”, but rather the reduced speed always applies in certain sections. For some reason they think that if a road is busy they should slow it down, which actually makes it less safe as i creates a stop/start pattern with more likelihood of a bump and more pollution. Frequently overhead signs are wrong and out of date. The only justification for variable is to generate income through fines. Scrap all the variable speed and you get rid of jams. I understand the theory of variable speed but it does not work because of the misguided and incompetent way it operates. The management of our motorways is a complete farce.
The only advantage of so called smart motorways is when an extra lane is added to replace the hard shoulder, although that makes them theoretically less safe.
Well you do know that the word Tory is an old gailic word for thief.
comes as no surprise always the same hit the motorist
each and every motorist should stop using their cars for one week and paralysis of the country would ensue such is the power we all hold if we stood together.
Here’s an idea make the corporate giants pay their taxes that would go some way to addressing the shortfall
Governments continually get it wrong when they play around with things they don’t understand.Think how wrong they got diesel; they were tilting at the wrong windmill ie. CO2 when they should have been aiming at air pollution. The best thing is to just regard it as a tax, which should depend on mileage. So the more you drive the more you pay.
Air pollution is worst in cities, so by all means restrict, discourage or ban the worst polluters from the most polluted places. At the same time think in terms of public transport, which should be cheap, frequent and non-polluting.
Another thought: Heathrow is going to get an additional half runway. So more traffic, more congestion on the M25 etc. So how about park and ride from about 3 miles outside the M25 on the M4, The M3, the A3 and the M40. Preferably these should be raised monorails constructed above the existing roads, with pods like the Terminal 5 transit.
Driving in closed lanes is not a minor transgression people’s lives can depend on it. Having miles of lanes closed with no work going on is a pain that needs addressing now. As for spending billions on upgrading motorways, a lot of the current pressure can be eased by the construction of two new East West motorways, a lot of the infrastructure is already in place. The thinking for many years has been for motorways to go North South or to link already well served cities and airport’s barely any consideration regarding ports with new and future container handling. As for the location of these two motorways the first should run from the Felixstowe Harwich area and terminate in the Port Talbot area. The second should Start on the outskirts of Norwich providing a link for Ipswich, Lowestoft, Gt. Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Boston this motorway should join the existing network approaching Liverpool Manchester area. Both of these motorways would provide business and private people on the east coast access to the country’s motorway network. The government has always deemed it required the people of East Anglia to travel to London to access the motorway network. Another alternative was the A17 with a average speed of 40 MPH due to the volume of agricultural vehicles and lorries with this speed limit imposed on them. This is also one of the most dangerous deathtrap roads in the UK.
I have spent some time driving in Germany in this country when you are driving on a trunk road you don’t have to travel far before you come to one of those designer purpose built holdups/traffic jams pollution causing things called a roundabout. The main difference in Germany is when you join a trunk road you stay on it without stopping and staying above a minimum speed limit until you reach your exit NO HOLDUPS.