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In December, Connect Plus Services and Highways England joined forces with Essex Police to embark on phase two of Operation Upminster, an initiative to enforce against vehicles parking illegally on the motorway hard shoulder between junctions 27 (M11) and 31 (Lakeside), in Essex.

Phase two follows the initial trial phase held in August and sees renewed efforts to eliminate illegal hard shoulder parking in this region. Drivers that use the hard shoulder as a parking place cut off emergency access routes, severely hampering crews’ attempts to respond to incidents on the network. As well as the immediate safety risks, drivers who park on the hard shoulder often leave litter and human waste behind, which requires the deployment of specialist cleansing resources.

The operation saw a total of 146 vehicles interacted with, 137 of which were heavy goods vehicles.  In total, 111 vehicles were dealt with for parking on the hard shoulder.  In addition, a number of other offences were tackled including tickets issued for illegal mobile phone use, careless driving, excessive speed and driver hours offences.

Ian Kennard, route performance manager for Connect Plus Services said: “Illegal parking on the hard shoulder impedes the emergency services and traffic officers ability to respond to incidents.  As well as being an unpleasant task, clearing human waste exposes our road workers to additional safety risks, given their proximity to traffic. The time spent removing this waste is time that our maintenance operatives could spend on carrying out other vital works, including vegetation removal or sign cleaning, for example”.

Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager for Essex Police said: “This is the second Operation Upminster we have run in partnership with Connect Plus Services and Highways England.  The operation lasted three weeks and saw us work together to crack down on illegal parking which is both unacceptable and presents significant dangers.”

In addition to this latest campaign, Connect Plus Services and Highways England are continuing to look at ways to discourage HGV drivers from parking on the hard shoulder in the long-term, with plans already being developed for a third phase of enforcement to start in February 2017.