Highways England have assured road users that they are ready to deal with the threat of drone attacks on the strategic road network (SRN).
After interference from drones caused significant disruption for over 36 hours at Gatwick airport during the 2018 Christmas period, concerns have been raised that drones could also be used to cause deliberate disruption to the SRN in a similar fashion. It has been feared that deliberate drone interference in this way could cause road safety issues if authorities are under prepared.
However, Highways England has assured drivers that they have already devised plans to deal with “unplanned events” such as drone interference in a way which causes minimal disruption. This includes a number of arrangements and initiatives which allow authorities to respond to incidents quickly and keep those affected informed with accurate and reliable updates.
Commenting on the subject, a Highways England spokesperson assured road users that the processes in place for dealing with unplanned events are “robust” and allow them to deal with a range of disruptions, such as severe weather and traffic accidents: “We have arrangements in place to work with the police and other organisations to understand various threats, to protect against these threats, and to respond to any incidents that occur.”
Further work is also being done to integrate existing initiatives, in an effort to provide continued preparation for authorities in regards to dealing with unplanned incidents. This involves the integration of: CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act, Re-open), which is designed to reduce the time taken to to reopen motorways after incidents occur, and JESIP (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles), which is a communication and decision-making initiative for authorities when dealing with incidents.