Michael Fabricant is tabling emergency Parliamentary Questions to the
Secretary of State for Transport following an incident at the Weeford
exit of the M6 Toll Motorway near Lichfield Wednesday night when an
emergency ambulance with blue light flashing was held at the toll booth.
Michael Fabricant says: "This is disgraceful and could cost lives.
Although the vehicle was not a traditionally shaped large ambulance, it
had official blue emergency lights on the top, the official Crown emblem
of the Staffordshire Ambulance Service on the doors, and was clearly
marked on the bonnet with the ambulance symbol. I am asking Secretary
of State for Transport Alistair Darling to make a statement about the
whole incident. Emergency vehicles must be allowed to exit the toll
road without delay."
Bob Lee for the Staffordshire Ambulance Service said all the above had
been agreed with the operator of the M6 Toll, Midland Expressway
Limited, as being sufficient for recognition as an ambulance vehicle. He
said the paramedic called his control centre and a senior officer
telephoned the toll booth operator to explain the situation. Mr Lee said
while this was happening, the paramedic received the emergency call, but
he still had to wait with his blue lights flashing before he was allowed
to exit. "It was clearly marked, clearly an ambulance vehicle, clearly
going on an emergency call and yet still despite all the assurances from
the toll operator this vehicle was delayed. Now that potentially puts
lives at risk and we’re at a loss what to do. This is not the first time
this has happened and enough is enough."
Tom Fanning managing director of the operators of the M6 Toll, Midland
Expressway Limited, denied the vehicle was a clearly marked ambulance.
"Ambulances that are not clearly liveried are allowed through providing
the agreed procedures are followed, in that the ambulance service
control room telephones ahead to give us advance warning so that we can
give them free and unhindered access," he said. "No advance notice was
given, however, after a brief discussion the vehicle, a Vauxhall Vectra
estate, was given free passage."
Michael Fabricant says "This is just not good enough. I hope the
Secretary of State will be able to make the operators of the M6 Toll see
sense. All emergency vehicles carry blue lights, no one else is allowed
to. That should have been clear enough indication that the toll booth
barrier should have been lifted and the vehicle to exit without delay.
This cannot be allowed to continue".