Highways England

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Highways England is a Government-owned company, charged with the responsibility for managing the safety and effectiveness of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in England, including motorways and sections of trunk roads.

The Service

FMG provides a recovery service to remove any broken-down, accident-damaged or abandoned vehicles from the Strategic Road Network to a place of safety. As the service is provided to any vehicle travelling on the Highways England Network, FMG has extensive experience of attending vehicles of varying weight and size, from motorcycles to vehicles operated under STGO regulations. FMG removes vehicles wherever possible using slide back recovery vehicles. Large goods vehicles are either towed by specialist recovery vehicles or moved using low loaders. The contract covers 4,300 miles of motorways and significant A-roads.

The Original Challenge

Traffic and road management tasks previously performed by the Police were transferred to Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) in 2004, with the launch of the Highways England Traffic Officer Service. To support this function, Highways England recognised a need to recruit the first National Vehicle Recovery Manager; an external specialist organisation to carry out the removal of vehicles from the motorway network. FMG was awarded the landmark contract in October 2008 and implementation began immediately.

The services include:

  • Statutory removal of vehicles, loads and occupants

  • Vehicle load and property storage and disposal

  • Collection of Statutory Charges

  • Complaint management

  • Stand-by arrangements


With no precedent for this service, a new approach was required. Therefore FMG created a full-time, dedicated Highways England solution team, made up of a team of 30 experts from right across FMG’s business. Working closely with Highways England, this dedicated team developed a list of 21 detailed scenarios, consisting of answers to a wide range of practical questions, ranging from how to deal with a vehicle containing sheep, to removing a lorry-load of bottles containing bleach strewn across three lanes.

The next major task was to build a dedicated nationwide network of the best professional recovery partners to deal with the new role, providing investment plans and training where necessary. FMG reinforced our existing network management team and appointed Regional Compliance Managers to ensure the contract obligations of Highways England were met. To improve the effectiveness of road transportation, the SRN must be kept flowing to achieve maximum benefit, so FMG created a dedicated central control centre and service delivery team, generating vital data that’s continually measured, reported and acted upon. New logistics and administration challenges included setting up methods for the public to pay for the services used and creating vehicle storage and disposal processes.

The Results

We're proud to have achieved the following results:

  • 80% of cars are removed within 45 minutes

  • 92% of LGVs are attended within 60 minutes

  • 98% of all recoveries are attended within 1 hour


The enthusiasm and dedication of FMG to create a solution to meet our requirements has been remarkable. What’s more, their implementation and management of that solution with their partners is highly commendable. The improvements in performance targets speak for themselves.

Gary Bacon, Head of Service, Highways England