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Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the M180 was closed on 31 March 2008; on whose authority the closure took place; and what guidance she issues on the appropriate action to be taken in closing motorways following an incident. (201289)

The M180 was closed on 31 March 2008 between junctions 2 and 1 both westbound and eastbound from 9.20 am to 4.36 pm following a fatal accident involving five vehicles.

The M180 was closed by South Yorkshire Police to enable them to manage the incident safely and to facilitate their investigation into the incident.

The Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service works closely with local police forces when dealing with these incidents, applying the principles set out in the national guidance framework document that was signed by both the Highways Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) when the Traffic Officer Service was established. The decision as to whether a motorway should be closed is, however, a local one, taking into account factors such as the particular circumstances of the incident, traffic conditions, the safety of the travelling public and the safety of the emergency service personnel involved in dealing with the incident.