The organisation in charge of England’s motorways has agreed a new deal with the emergency services to allow faster accident response in the West Midlands. The agreement will allow the government-run company, Highways England, to work more closely and more efficiently at the scene.
The 52-page document, which has been signed by police, fire and ambulance services across the region, is designed to help coordinate the response to incidents. The agreement sets out the responsibilities and roles of each service, as well as detailing how information will be shared and how the motorways should be managed.
It’s hoped the deal will improve the management of traffic on the affected stretch of motorway, as well as encouraging greater cooperation when responding to an incident. It will also enable greater sharing of information between organisations and provide extra support for dealing with accidents.
The document will be reviewed annually, allowing the approach to be tweaked and updated as time goes on. David Yates, Highways England’s service delivery manager, said the document would set out protocols to improve the service for all motorists.
“Any incidents on the network can cause widespread disruption and we all want to manage the situation as efficiently as possible and get traffic moving again,” he said. “With so many organisations often on scene, good collaboration and communication is essential. These agreed protocols ensure our roles are set out beforehand and better enable us to deal with incidents smoothly, swiftly and effectively.
“All of the partner organisations have been working together for some time on this agreement and we are delighted that it has now been agreed and signed by all concerned.”
And Sion Hathaway, of the Central Motorway Police Group, said the agreement would give police the ability to respond quickly to any accidents or other incidents that occur on the motorway network.
“We’re really happy that this agreement is now in place as it will allow us, and our partner organisations, to carry on keeping the region’s roads safe,” he said. “This agreement gives us a better chance of responding swiftly and safely to road related incidents, thus ensuring we are in the best position to save lives and causing minimum disruption in the process.”
Meanwhile area commander Steve Vincent, of the West Midlands Fire Service, said the agreement would help the service work more effectively and safely at the scene of an incident.
“Our aim is to get to all serious incidents within five minutes, and by signing this agreement we can work even more closely with Highways England and our emergency service partners to continue to provide a first-class service,” he said. “It will also enable our crews to work more safely, assertively and effectively at incidents to help save lives.”