Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “My promise to work to keep us safer includes enabling our Constabulary to pursue those whose behaviours put that safety at risk. I know that many people had a ‘nightmare’ journey on the M3 a week ago.
“This particular incident had high risk factors and involved a major incident response. And at the top of the priorities was keeping people safe.
“I commend those who made the scene safe, collected evidence, continued the investigation, after the road was eventually reopened, and have been able to identify the suspect and today bring him to court. The actions, involving chemicals, were extremely dangerous and this is reflected in the charges to be brought that reflect ‘the intent to endanger life’.
“I would like to thank the public for their patience, which will have been sorely tested on this occasion.
“As always when reviewing all incidents I will be supporting partners in learning lessons from this.
“Travel in all its modes features in very many lives. A huge number of people have already made journeys today, commuting within their expected journey times, taking public transport that arrived on-time and cyclists & walkers perhaps enjoying, as they travel, the sunny autumn day.
“But often the need to travel is accompanied by frustrations and unexpected challenges in getting to the planned destination. Today (Monday) there have been commuting challenges on the roads, accidents and signal issues on the trains and there is a major airline passenger recovery task to return people to this country from abroad, following the financial collapse of Monarch Airline.
“The journeys, good and bad, rely on many partners to create the infrastructure, maintain it and respond to the unexpected.
“The unexpected nearly always involves one or more partners urgently taking action to keep us safer – involving the emergency services, air ambulance, road repair and clearance and all the processes of signposting and diversion to safer and clear routes. In the congestion that exists in our area, this will often be complex as interrelated activity needs to be adjusted – planned work on minor roads, relying on the main arterials to keep traffic free flowing, become constraints on diversions as the messages of an incident inform satellite navigation systems in cars and seek alternative routes. Good planning is defeated by the act, on this occasion, of criminal and dangerous activity.
“Lessons can and will be learned amongst partners. But I hope that people will share my determination that safety must always come first.”