Home Menu Search

All new smart motorways scrapped

16 April 2023

New smart motorways to be removed from government road-building plans due to financial pressures and lack of confidence felt by drivers.

  • plans for new smart motorways will be cancelled in recognition of the current lack of public confidence felt by drivers and cost pressures
  • smart motorways earmarked for construction during the third Road Investment Strategy (2025 to 2030) and previously paused schemes will now not go ahead
  • existing smart motorways will continue to benefit from £900 million safety improvements

New smart motorways – including the 11 already paused from the second Road Investment Strategy (2020 to 2025) and the 3 earmarked for construction during the third Road Investment Strategy (2025 to 2030) – will be removed from government road-building plans, given financial pressures and in recognition of the current lack of public confidence felt by drivers.

Initial estimations suggest constructing future smart motorway schemes would have cost more than £1 billion and cancelling these schemes will allow more time to track public confidence in smart motorways over a longer period.

The government and National Highways continue to invest £900 million in further safety improvements on existing smart motorways.

This includes progressing plans on installing 150 extra emergency areas across the network in line with the commitments made in response to the Transport Select Committee, as well as further improving the performance of stopped vehicle detection technology on every all lane running smart motorway.

The government will also continue to give motorists clear advice when using existing smart motorways.

While no new stretches of road will be converted into smart motorways, the M56 J6-8 and M6 J21a-26 will be completed given they are already over three quarters constructed.

Related news, events and information

UK Smart motorway rollout to be paused

12 January 2022 – Government pausing the rollout of new all lane running smart motorway schemes. rollout of new all lane running...

UK National Emergency Area Retrofit Programme

2 January 2023 – In January 2022, the UK Government's response to a Parliament's Transport Select Committee report The roll out...

UK roads could see self-driving vehicles rolled out by 2025

22 August 2022 – UK roads could see self-driving vehicles rolled out by 2025 thanks to new government plans - backed by £100...

Driver Training Rules to be changed

8 December 2011 – Tougher rules to prevent trainee instructors from teaching and to allow L Drivers on Motorways have been...

Motorway Driving for Learner Drivers

1 January 2017 – Learner drivers will be allowed to have driving lessons on motorways with a driving instructor in a car fitted...

SAFETYcam and Highways England receive prestigious award.

10 December 2019 – Carnell and Highways England have been presented with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in...

Rules around motorway driving for new motorists

22 August 2023 – In 2021, more than 60 billion miles of motorway driving were accumulated by vehicles in the UK, with 71,000...

10,000 killed on rural roads in the EU in 2022

2 April 2024 – National governments will need to invest significantly to improve the safety of rural roads in order to hit a...

Highways England Innovation Strategy

7 April 2016 – An innovation strategy that sets out how £150 million will be spent on harnessing new technology - including...