A Transport Committee report on the government’s plans to roll out 300 miles of all-lane running to UK motorways was “too cautious”, the RHA has said.

The committee slammed the government’s plans, branding them “a radical change and an unacceptable price to pay for such improvements”.

The report said: “The all-lane running design has been chosen on the basis of cost savings, and it is not acceptable for the DfT to proceed with a less safe design, putting people’s lives at risk, in order to cut costs.”

Rob Flello MP, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for freight transport, told he thought the move was “an absolute disgrace”.

He said: “The government is trying to bring in all-lane running on the cheap and it’s putting people’s lives at risk, and it’s trying – very disreputably in my opinion – to hide the risks.

“In my point of view, it’s an absolute disgrace that the government thought it could get away with this.

"A young woman lost her life on the M25 in all-lane running a few weeks ago, and I think people should be asking questions of the government about why it’s putting lives at risk.”

However, RHA director of policy Jack Semple said the report was “too cautious”.

He said: “Motorways are among the safest roads we drive on and this must be maintained. That can be done with all-lane running with the right infrastructure and the right signalling.

“The RHA believes that all-lane running has the potential to deliver much-needed environmental and efficiency improvements without compromising safety. It is short-sighted to rule it out.”

A DfT spokesman said: “Our motorways are among the safest in the world and cutting the number of accidents is our priority. All-lane running roads are designed to be as safe as ordinary motorways.

“We will be considering all the Transport Committee’s findings carefully and responding shortly.”

Louise Ellman MP, chairwoman of the Transport Committee, said the body was concerned by unacceptably low levels of public awareness regarding all-lane running schemes and compliance with red X signals.

She said the committee would need to see more emergency refuge areas and greater driver education and enforcement before it endorsed “the extension of a scheme that risks putting motorists in harm’s way”.

However, Alan Stevens, chief scientist at the Transport Research Laboratory, said: “We have conducted several research projects using our driving simulator to see how people respond to dynamic hard shoulder and all-lane running motorways and found both to be no less safe than other motorways.”

He added: “Yes, there is the possibility of accidents, but it is a rare thing. It depends on what sort of risk we as a nation want on our roads. You can design them to be safer but at more cost.”