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Government puts the Brakes on 60mph Motorway Plans

July 11, 2014
Environmental Protection

Plans to impose a 60mph speed limit on a 32 mile stretch of the M1 in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire in order to cut air pollution, have been shelved by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. The speed limit reduction on the M1was opposed by 93% of those who took part in a Highways Agency on-line consultation which opened in February prompting Mr McLoughlin to reply; “I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.”

A similar measure covering 2.8 miles of the M3 in Surrey has also been put on hold. The Highways Agency have now been given 18 months in order to devise alternative methods of improving air quality. Agency chief executive Graham Dalton told AirQualityNews.com “We support the government’s decision in this difficult and complex area and will be working closely with the Department to deliver the maximum benefits for our road users whilst mitigating further impacts on air quality.”

The news comes at the same time as London Mayor Boris Johnson has come under increasing pressure from traders after London’s Oxford Street was branded the most polluted street on the planet. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels averaged 135 micrograms per cubic metre during the past year over three times the current EU limit.