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Motorways: Closures

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many times a motorway has been closed because of someone on or near it threatening to commit suicide in the last 12 months. (296908)

The Highways Agency has recorded 26 motorway closures owing to suicides or persons threatening to commit suicide in the year to September 2009.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on how many occasions in the last 12 months the initial decision to fully close a motorway by a road policing officer has been reviewed by (a) a supervisor, (b) the Highways Agency and (c) the Highway Authority; and in how many such cases the decision has been overturned. (296909)

A decision to close a motorway is made by the police where the nature and/or severity of the incident demands it.

Highways Agency Traffic Officers and their supervisors do not have the authority to overturn an instruction given by a police constable.

Discussion may take place between the Traffic Officer Service and the police following an incident to identify the best way forward in those circumstances, but a police officer's decision is final.

Therefore the Highways Agency, as Highway Authority, has not reviewed any initial decisions by a roads policing officer to fully close a motorway.