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Call for hard shoulders to be reinstated on smart motorways

Rolling in: The new trams being delivered in Wednesbury

New trams on the block

Eight state-of-the-art trams have arrived in the West Midlands from Spain, ahead of expansions to the region's metro network. The first of the third

generation Urbos trams were shipped from a factory in Zaragoza, Spain and arrived at the Metro depot in Wednesbury, on a 40m lorry, driven under escort. The eight trams,

manufactured to order by CAF, are arriving in the West Midlands over the next few months and the first five will be put into service later this year ready for the opening of extensions to the network in Birmingham and Wolverhampton city centres. A further 13 trams will be

delivered in 2023 ahead of the opening of the Metro extension currently under construction between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill. The Metro expansion

programme is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance. The bright blue liveried

trams are able to run under power from overhead electric cables, while recharging the on-board battery ready for cable free sections of track. Mayor of the West Midlands

Andy Street said: “These are incredibly exciting times for the Metro in the West Midlands, as we undergo a huge expansion of the network. Not only are our trams a quick and easy alternative to the car, but they’re also far more environmentally friendly, helping to reduce air pollution and tackle the climate emergency.”

58 CHAMBERLINK June 2021 58 CHAMBERLINK May 2021 Ryder delivers DVS compliant trucks

Truck rental firm Ryder has delivered 14 DAF rigid lorries to distribution firm Ketra, based in Thamesmead, south-east London. The fleet has cabs that are designed to be compliant

with the requirements of London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS). The new trucks will not only work for Ketra, but also

for its sister business IEFS Logistics in Barking, east London, with both businesses members of the Palletways pallet network. Both businesses are owned by former Palletways MD

Martyn Young, who said: “This is the biggest trading decision for Ketra since I took it over.”

DVS compliance was a big issue for Ketra, and Mr

Young said: “We needed to make the commitment to vulnerable road users in London; we wanted our trucks to be as safe as possible – and our old fleet would not have been DVS-compliant. “This new fleet not only means that we’re compliant

now, but also when the standard becomes tougher in 2024 and sets the minimum requirement at three stars – and this means we won’t need to worry about retrofitting vehicles or replacing them in three years’ time.” Paul Eve, enterprise support manager at Ryder, said:

“I’m delighted that, following a thorough and robust tender process, Martyn has put his trust in Ryder.”

A Birmingham lawyer has called for the reinstatement of hard shoulders on Britain’s controversial ‘smart motorways’, before more lives are lost. Manjinder Kang, of motoring

defence experts Kang and Co Solicitors in Victoria Square, Birmingham, says the use of these roads should be suspended until an urgent review has been carried out into their safety. Smart motorways do not have

traditional hard shoulders, and are a cheap way of increasing lanes on existing roads, including stretches of the M6 and M42 around Birmingham. According to the independent

Transport Network body, there were 11 deaths on smart motorways in 2018, compared to just five in 2017. It said that the number of

fatalities on these roads was rising faster than the network was expanding, with the number of deaths per mile of smart motorway rising from one every 43 miles in 2016 to one every 17 miles in 2019. An independent review of these

roads is currently being carried out by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), but only to ensure that safety data around the controversial roads is ‘robust’. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has also ordered that all smart

“A review is needed and a clear decision made but while uncertainty remains the only safe thing to do is suspend their use and stop allowing live traffic on to the hard shoulder.” “The only way to actually protect

lives and make smart motorways safe is to reintroduce the hard shoulder. “Motorways are dangerous roads

Manjinder Kang: Suspend smart motorways until safety concerns are addressed

motorways must have vehicle detection radars by September, so that traffic speed can be slowed or lanes closed, if needed. However, Mr Kang, who has been

involved with a number of high- profile cases involving accidents on smart motorways, believes the measures don’t go far enough and is calling for the government to suspend the use of smart motorways until safety concerns are addressed. He said: “To continue using these

stretches of road while safety concerns still remain and people are still losing their lives is appalling.

Line-up: Some of Ketra’s new Ryder trucks

anyway and by using the hard shoulder for live traffic it means if someone breaks down they have no where to go, and as we have seen all too often stranded motorists unfortunately find themselves involved in serious high speed collisions. “The announcement (about the

review) means that more lives will be lost as yet another review is carried out without actually pausing the roll out of smart motorways while a decision is made. It means people are still using the roads while this concern over safety remains. “A decision needs to be made

and the use of smart motorways needs to be suspended or scrapped while the safety risks around them are properly reviewed. Anything other just means unfortunately more accidents will occur and sadly lives will be lost as smart motorways remain open.”

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