M6 delay

At 10am on Friday 18 March at Birmingham City Council House, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson will be holding a hearing in public into the response and delays that followed a fatal crash on the M6.

The hearing in public will seek to make sure that lessons are learnt and co-ordination is as strong as it can be in the future.

Representatives from the following agencies will be giving evidence at the hearing in public to the PCC and representatives from his Strategic Policing and Crime Board:

  • Highways England
  • West Midlands Police
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Warwickshire County Council

On Thursday 4 February there were severe tailbacks on the M6 Motorway following a crash between Junctions 5 and 6 in the early hours of the morning in which somebody tragically lost their life. The motorway was not fully re-opened until nearly 24 hours later.

After the hearing in public the PCC will make recommendations on how the motorway can be re-opened as quickly, but safely as possible in future through better co-ordination and joint working.

The crash led to huge delays across the region and the motorway itself was not fully re-opened for nearly 24 hours. It is estimated that motorway closures cost over   £1 billion a year to the UK economy, which has a big impact on jobs and growth.

The public and media are invited to attend the hearing, which will also be webcast live via   www.westmidspcc.public-i.tv/

The hearing in public will deal solely with the aftermath of the incident and the co-ordination between agencies, not the crash itself. The PCC will chair the hearing and the questioning will be supported by his Strategic Policing and Crime Board.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said:
"Any death on our roads is a tragic loss of life and our sympathies go out to the family.

"I am pleased that all the public agencies have agreed to take part in my hearing in public so that they can learn the lessons from this crash to ensure that they are dealt with in a safe and timely manner in future. I believe that this is the first time that Highways England have appeared before a PCC in public. I am looking forward to getting the answers that the public want and helping the public bodies involved learn the lessons required.

"The huge tailbacks on the transport network which will have cost the regional economy millions of pounds, so assisting public bodies deal with incidents like this better in future will help motorists and boost jobs too.

 "I will be publicly scrutinising the way in which all the agencies worked together to establish the level of multi-agency working that took place around managing traffic and re-opening the motorway in the aftermath of the incident. I hope this hearing will act as a stimulus for a more structured working relationship between the police, Highways England and local authorities if a similar incident occurs in the future.

"I want to thank people who have been in touch to share their stories about the delays they faced on February 4th, they have helped inform my work on this issue.

"I have made supporting the regional economy one of my top priorities in my police and crime plan. These delays and lengthy closures have a huge impact on jobs and growth. That is why I am so keen that the agencies involved learn the right lessons going forward."

What the public have said:
As part of the process that Police and Crime Commissioner has led, experiences from the public of the delays were sought and over 100 people shared their stories. A small selection of which is here:

"I'm a private hire driver. I was taking an elderly couple to the airport. They were due to fly to Belgium to visit family. Picked them up at 7.45 am. By 9.15 we hadn't reached Kingsbury Road at Curdworth. Elderly gentleman not in best of health asked me to take them back home. Took another hour to get them back home."

"I was 7.5 months pregnant at the time and most uncomfortable for the whole time I was stuck. The highways agency managed to locate my car via the cameras and I had two calls from them asking if I was ok. They stated that they couldn't reach me to escort me off the motorway because the whole motorway was blocked including the hard shoulder because of road works too."

"We missed my Nan's funeral and could only continue with the journey when I got out of my vehicle and asked other motorist to move so we could cross three lanes to escape the carnage. If there had been an emergency no vehicle would have been able to get anywhere near the incident."

"We are a small family business and rely heavily on the smooth running the m6. My driver left at 4.51 am and didn't get to London till 2.15pm… The driver also went over on his daily driving hours in order to find a suitable place to stop as the traffic was horrendous. He now has to sign and acknowledge the infringements for going over by a couple of minutes for something which was out of his control. VOSA could pull us up on this and doesn't seem fair."



The hearing in public into the aftermath of the incident on the M6 Motorway will take place on Friday 18 March in Committee Room 2 at Birmingham City Council House from 10am to1pm. It will also be webcast live viawww.westmidspcc.public-i.tv/

Approximate timings for the hearing in public:

  1.  

Introductions

10:00am

  1.  

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

10:05am

  1.  

Summary of Public Responses to Consultation

10:10am

  1.  

West Midlands Police

10.15am

  1.  

Local Authorities

10.45am

  1.  

Highways England

11.15pm

  1.  

Summary

12.45pm

  1.  

Close

13.00pm