Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-09-02

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3 NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 News Body found in search for missing diplomat The ‘smart’ M3 motorway STUART THOMPSON PHOTOGRAPH­Y A BODY has been found by police searching for missing British diplomat Richard Morris nearly 17 weeks after his disappeara­nce. The 52-year-old father-of-three went missing from the Bentley area after he left for a run at around 10.30am on May 6, and had not been seen or heard from since a last sighting in nearby Alton later that morning. Hampshire Constabula­ry launched an extensive search in a bid to find Mr Morris, covering more than nine kilometres of land. On Monday, officers confirmed they had found a body in Alice Holt Forest. A statement said: “Officers investigat­ing the disappeara­nce of Richard Morris, from Bentley, have today found a body in Alice Holt Forest. “Formal identifica­tion has not yet taken place, but the 52-year-old’s family have been notified. They are being supported by specialist officers. “The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner”. The forest had been previously searched by police teams alongside other spots in the Alton and Binstead M25 to follow M3 in ‘smart’ motorway move Richard Morris had been missing for nearly 17 weeks HAMPSHIRE CONSTABULA­RY area, with the search being scaled back on June 3. Fresh appeals were made in later weeks, the most recent of which was made to mark 15 weeks since the diplomat had disappeare­d. Mr Morris was the UK Ambassador to Nepal between 2015 and 2019, and he had also worked in other roles with the Foreign and Commonweal­th Office over a near 30-year period. He had reportedly been due to take up a position as British High Commission­er to Fiji and head of the Pacific Network in July, with the foreign office describing him as a “much valued” colleague. PLANS TO GO THROUGH DESPITE CONCERNS By EMMA PENGELLY are a maximum 1.5 miles apart. The government committed to reducing this distance on new smart motorway schemes towards the end of last year. The major M25 developmen­t, which will affect Surrey residents, proposes to convert Junction 10 for the A3 Wisley Interchang­e to Junction 16 into a smart motorway. It means the Junctions (10 to 13 for the Staines interchang­e) will have an all-lane running system. The proposals suggest the existing hard shoulder would be converted into a traffic lane, creating five lanes for traffic at Junctions 15 to 16 and four lanes elsewhere. The project is estimated to cost between £200 million and £400m, with work beginning in 2020-21 and with a completion date by 2023. Here is a summary of other smart motorway projects affecting the county: However, there are concerns that the section of the motorway has been turned into a “dangerous” travelling route. In January, Lightwater shop owner Marios Sergiou said he had decided to sell his business and start a new trade closer to home just to avoid using the motorways where he “fears for his life”. The 62-year-old commuted along the M3, M25 and M40 to get to work in Uxbridge. @EmmaPengge­lly PLANS to convert a section of the M25 into an all-lane running smart motorway are to be pushed through despite safety concerns, reports say. Highways England announced on Friday August 21 at least seven new routes across the country without a hard shoulder will be approved for the scheme, The Times revealed. It comes despite warnings from the chairman of the Police Federation and MPs, who branded smart motorways a “death trap” in a report. According to The Times, smart motorway developmen­ts are to be given the green light on the M25, the M3, M62, M6, M56, the M40 and M42 interchang­e, as well as the A1(M). Transport secretary Grant Shapps has set up an “accelerati­on unit” to speed up the constructi­on projects. The developmen­ts are part of Highways England’s £27 billion plan to improve major roads over the next five years. However, smart motorways have been a controvers­ial topic with many highlighti­ng concerns over driver safety. Although the government insists the developmen­ts are necessary to improve traffic flow, others claim that getting rid of the hard shoulder is dangerous. The hard shoulders are replaced with an emergency lay-by, which ■M23 ■ An 11-mile stretch of the M23 between Junctions 8 and 10 is being converted into an all-lane running smart motorway. At a cost of £164m, the project started in 2017/18 and is set to be completed this year. In the latest update from Highways England, on April 1 overnight work continued to be carried out to install technology to turn the stretch into a fully operationa­l smart motorway. The government’s aim is to add stopped vehicles detection technology in the future. The M23 connects Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 and routes into London. As well as converting the hard shoulder into a permanent fourth lane between Junctions eight and 10, electronic informatio­n signs, signals and CCTV cameras will be installed. The scheme also includes converting the westbound hard shoulder along the spur to Gatwick Airport to create three permanent lanes. ■M3 ■ Many Surrey residents will be well aware of the smart motorway on the M3. Between Junction 2 for the M25 and 4a at Farnboroug­h, the hard shoulder has been converted into a fourth traffic lane. The scheme, constructe­d between February 2015 and June 2017, cost £174m. The 13.4-mile section of the road had “cutting-edge technology” installed to detect incidents, actively manage traffic and inform drivers about conditions ahead. PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . 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