Roads police chief warns M1 scheme “will put lives in danger”

Chief Inspector Mark Bownass from West Yorkshire Police
Chief Inspector Mark Bownass from West Yorkshire Police

A chief inspector has warned plans to open the M1’s hard shoulder as a fourth lane would put lives in danger.

The changes are to be made between junctions 39 to 42 in West Yorkshire when the Highways Agency upgrades the stretch to a ‘managed motorway’.

But Ch Insp Mark Bownass, of West Yorkshire Police’s roads policing unit, said it would threaten the safety of motorists and police officers.

He said: “My main concern is the safety of the public, making sure people get home safely.

“I feel with the configuration of the M1 that is not going to happen. We will have people put in danger.”

Speed limits would also be varied along the six-mile stretch, and displayed on overhead signs like those on the M62’s new managed motorway section.

Refuge bays will be created for motorists who break down. Work is due to start later this year and is expected to take about two years.

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “We are confident that the new design of managed motorways will tackle congestion on some of the busiest sections of motorway, while at the same time maintaining or improving safety.”