By Laura Sinpetru, January 7, 2014
The Highways Agency in the United Kingdom
has announced plans to introduce a new speed limit on a portion of the
country's busiest motorway, i.e. the M1.
Information shared with the public says that the motorway stretch
targeted by this initiative extends over 32 miles (51.5 kilometers).
The new speed limit is to be imposed between junction 28, near
Matlock in Derbyshire to junction 35a, north of Rotherham, South
According to Click Green,
the Highways Agency wants to have the maximum speed limit on this
portion of the motorway reduced from the current national standard of 70
miles per hour (112.6 kilometers per hour) to 60 miles per hour (96.5
kilometers per hour).
Drivers would have to abide by this new speed limit all seven days of
the week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the same source details.
Interestingly enough, the Highways Agency is to impose the 60 miles per
hour maximum speed limit on said stretch of the M1 motorway not due to
considerations having to do with road , but in order to reduce the amount of air pollution caused by vehicles traveling on this road.
More precisely, the Agency believes that, thanks to the new speed limit,
both vehicle congestion and emissions will be significantly reduced.
This is because, as shown by several studies, stop/start causes more air pollution than a smooth flow of vehicles does.
The Highways Agency details that, since the speed limit is merely
intended to improve on local air quality, it will be lifted as soon as a
drop in pollution levels is reported.
“To remove the speed limit, the air quality along the corridor and in
the wider area would need to improve so that the impacts of the managed
motorway – all lane running schemes operating at the national speed
limit are no longer significantly adverse,” it in a statement.
Furthermore, “As soon as those impacts reduce to an acceptable level the
speed limit will be lifted. For the purposes of this consultation, it
should be assumed that the speed limit will need to be in place for
By the looks of it, this is the first time when the United Kingdom has
ever considered imposing new speed limits in order to reduce air