M60 ‘smart motorway’ plan axed by Highways Agency

Plans for more lanes on a section of the M60 in Manchester have been shelved by the Highways Agency.

Launching a consultation on plans for the M60, the Highways Agency has ruled out hard shoulder running between junctions eight and 18 because of the detrimental impact it would have on air quality. The Agency’s environmental assessment concluded that allowing more cars to use the road between Sale and Swinton would breach UK and EU standards protecting public health and the natural environment.

The decision has been welcomed by the Campaign for Better Transport.

Sian Berry, coordinator of Campaign for Better Transport’s Roads to Nowhere campaign, said: “With this decision the Highways Agency has explicitly acknowledged that laws designed to protect people’s health and the environment prevent them from opening the hard shoulder to extra traffic.

“Dropping plans to widen this section of the M60 is great news for everyone who lives near the road. This should be a precedent-setting decision by the Highways Agency. Public health should always be put above cramming yet more cars onto our roads. The Government wants to pour billions into new road building and we need proper scrutiny of the impacts this will have on health and our environment.”

The campaigners said the decision could have repercussions for a number of other road schemes such as the A14 and A556 Knutsford bypass.

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