PCC follow-up hearing into chronic M6 delays

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson will hold a meeting tomorrow (DEC 20) to see how the response to major incidents on the M6 has improved since a fatal crash in February.

It will be a follow-up to his hearing on March 18 that looked into why the motorway remained closed for 24 hours following the fatal crash on February 4.  As a result, people were stranded in their cars and vans for hours, with hospital appointments, family funerals and business meetings and deliveries missed.

During that initial hearing, 11 recommendations were made. This new meeting - which will be webcast live from Lloyd House in Birmingham from 10am - will check on the progress since then.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "I organised the initial hearing following public outrage at the 24-hour delays, which cost the local economy millions and caused untold disruption.

"The crash in the early hours of February 4 was a tragic incident in which a young man lost his life. These hearings have never been into the circumstances of the crash but rather the response that followed from emergency services and Highways England. West Midlands Police has already investigated the crash itself and an inquest has taken place.

"This latest meeting will get everyone around the table again to see exactly what progress - however small or large - has been made since then.

"We need to make sure we have an efficient and effective motorway system serving the West Midlands, especially with HS2 construction looming on the horizon."

Following tomorrow's hearing, there will an update report published before Christmas and a full one in the new year.

The 11 recommendations from the first hearing are:

  • Police to review protocols for informing Highways England of large fuel spillages.
  • Police and Highways England to review the systems for allowing senior road workers access to incident sites for assessment of carriageway conditions before the end of the force's investigative phase.
  • Police, Highways England and local councils to agree a programme of exercises to prepare for unplanned motorway closures.
  • Police, Highways England and local councils to review protocol for declaring a major incident.
  • Police, Highways England and local councils to consider bringing in a grading scale for incidents and their response.
  • Highways England and local councils to look at their out-of-hours traffic management capabilities.
  • Highways England to develop and introduce collaboration agreements with councils for a shared response.
  • Highways England, West Midlands Combine Authority and the Department for Transport to review and renegotiate the criteria for opening up the M6 Toll if there's a major incident, including lowering the threshold for activation and devolving decision making to the Metro Mayor in partnership with other key agencies.
  • Highways England to review its operational command arrangements.
  • All agencies to examine their response to those trapped in vehicles, especially vulnerable people.
  • West Midlands Combined Authority to convene with six months for a follow-up meeting.

All of the papers and the webcast itself can be found here