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Highways England considers 60mph limit for M1

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A 60mph speed limit could be introduced on the M1 to improve air quality in Sheffield, according to reports.

The mandatory speed limit, if approved, would be in place between 7am and 7pm seven days a week between junctions 32 and 35a.

The plan coincides with Department for Transport (DfT) plans for a £106 million smart motorway, which is due to launch in March.

However, the Government previously ruled out a reduction in the speed limit just over two-and-a-half years ago.

The then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:"Let me be absolutely clear, 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.”

He instead asked Highways England to investigate alternatives.

Highways England has stressed however, that the speed limit is just one of “a range of other mitigation options” being trialled, according to the Guardian.

Other options, it reports, include painting barriers with “catalytic paints” designed to remove pollutants from the air and putting piles of “mineral polymer” – made from a secret compound that absorbs nitrogen dioxide – alongside the road.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “Smart motorways are central to the modernisation of England’s motorways, reducing congestion and improving journey time reliability by smoothing traffic flows.

"One of our key challenges in delivering the £15 billion government investment in infrastructure is tackling the issue presented by air quality and in order to meet environmental targets we are investing in wider programme of air quality research to help address this.”


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  • leaning on my shovel - 23/01/2017 11:33

    Most of the M1 has been a 50 limit for years! The same goes for the M3, which is a joke; 4 years and counting, the amazing Millau Viaduct only took 4 years 2 months to complete!!!! The M5 south of Birmingham and past Gloucester, the M4 east of Newbury, I could go on. Why does it take so long to add an extra lane, which is already there as a hard shoulder anyway, or add a concrete central barrier? It's not necessary to cone off 10,20 or more miles of motorway at a time, especially when you rarely see people actually working, except sometimes a group of men standing around whilst an excavator driver manoeuvres a handful of soil from A to B, something that could and should be done much quicker with an actual shovel rather than £80,000 worth of plant equipment. I say again, just over 4 years to build the Millau Viaduct one the greatest structures in the world, and in the UK it's already taken longer than that to add an extra lane to 15 miles of existing motorway, and there's still no completion date!

  • Richard - 23/01/2017 13:15

    I travel down the M1 to Hemel Hempstead on a regular basis 20+ miles of thin 50mph limit and the last time I went through these road works at 9am ... no one around and I mean no one around I cam back at 4pm and still no one around - so as thats a 6 hour window and as the workmen would need to think about what needs doing first say 1 hr thats 10 o'clock then stop for dinner at midday for about 1.5 hrs then knock off at 3pm that work is going to take a while - it's a complete joke and in the end the motorist suffers for what .... as when it's finished and it's 'smart' it will still say 60mph at 3 in the morning !!!!

  • graham connolly - 25/01/2017 14:21

    Its not travelling at 70mph that causes polution is the 2-3-4 mile tail backs caused by the operators of the overhead signs on the M60 every morning they put 40 mph limit signs up, which causes delays and hence polution. Build fly overs not roundabouts, every time a vehicle stops it is causing unecesary polution. \also get some smart traffic light software how many times I have stopped at a pelecan crossing only to find the pedestrian has crossed on red. Get someone in charge with common sense not Do Gooders saving the planet, then hopefully we will have less polution. But I feel I am waisting my breath.

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