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60mph M1 motorway speed limit proposed

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800

The government has announced a proposal to lower the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 60mph over a 32-mile stretch of the M1.

The plan, which has just been put out to consultation, would lower the speed limit to 60mph between junction 28, near Matlock in Derbyshire, to junction 35a, north of Rotherham – in a bid to improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.

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The current proposal would see the Highways Agency put the 60mph restriction in place between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week. It says it would likely remain for ‘several years’.

However, it is unable to give an exact time frame because the scheme is being specifically promoted as an effort to improve the air quality in this area, as mandated by new European Union guidelines.

This means that as air quality is improved, helped by increasing number of newer, cleaner vehicles, the restriction period could be reduced – perhaps by time or from all week to Monday to Friday – and the distance shortened, before finally, hopefully being removed altogether.

However, speaking to the BBC, the RAC fears that this 32-mile section of the M1 could be the start of a slippery slope, should the proposal go ahead.

The motoring organisation believes this is probably the first time a speed reduction has ever been introduced on a UK motorway in order to comply with environmental legislation, and that once in place it might not be the last.

According to the RAC, it could ‘pave the way for similar restrictions on other sections of motorway’, and that then there would ‘inevitably be a negative impact on business efficiency and individual mobility’.

The government, by contrast, believes the 60mph limit would result in ‘reduced congestion, increased capacity and improved journey time reliability for users of the motorway’.

Image (c) REX

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By motoringresearch.com