A protest against the use of smart motorways in the UK will take place outside the Conservative party conference in Birmingham this weekend.

Campaign group Smart Motorways Kill said the recent change in both the prime minister and the transport secretary offered the government a “perfect opportunity” to scrap the controversial traffic policy.

Founded by the widow of Jason Mercer, who was killed on a stretch of smart motorway in Yorkshire in 2019, the group said the cabinet reshuffle allowed the government to save face: “Only in August, Liz Truss said the smart motorway experiment hasn’t worked,” it said in a statement.

“That ‘experiment’ killed our loved ones! These death traps must be stopped now before they take more loved ones.”

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The group said it would picket the Tory conference on 2 October (Sunday) to remind the prime minister of what she said and to enlighten transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan about what she was inheriting.

Founder Claire Mercer said: “I’m not naïve, but I do know people don’t like inheriting personal liability for a policy they didn’t create.”

A recent survey found 40% of courier firms believe smart motorways are more dangerous than not taking enough rest.

However, analysis by National Highways earlier this year found that they were the safest roads on the strategic road network in terms of serious or fatal casualties.