National Highways to trial 60mph speed limit to improve air quality and reduce emissions - including M1 & M5

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National Highways will begin trialling 60mph speed limits on roads across the UK to reduce emissions.

National Highways has announced that they will trial a 60 mph speed limit on additional roads across the UK in the coming months. The speed limit is set to be put in place on short sections of the NH (National Highways) network.

The trials are set to take place in areas that need particular action in reducing emissions and improving air quality. A spokesperson for National Highways said: “Based on the findings for our research programme we expect there will be a reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) when traffic is reduced from 70 to 60mph in these locations.

“We are now trialling this approach on-road, to assess whether reducing the speed limit reduces NO2 levels. We will monitor this trial and if proven successful, the speed limit will remain in place until the area is compliant.”

So, when will the trial be taking place and where are the limits? Here’s everything you need to know.

When are these limits in place?

As for how long the limits are set to be in place, National Highways website states that the speed limits introduced specifically for air quality will stay until their monitoring shows they can be removed. Following that the national speed limit will be reinstated.

Where are these limits in place?

According to the National Highways website, the speed limit trials will take place at these locations:

  • M1 junctions 34 to 33 Rotherham
  • M6 junctions 6 to 7 Witton
  • M602 junctions 1 to 3 Eccles
  • M5 junction 1-2 Oldbury - view consultation response
  • M4 Harlington junctions 3 to 4 west bound

Three locations with poor air quality already had reduced speed limits in place, so they did not need to introduce new speed restrictions:

National Highway will begin trialling 60mph speed limits on roads across the UK to reduce emissions.National Highway will begin trialling 60mph speed limits on roads across the UK to reduce emissions.
National Highway will begin trialling 60mph speed limits on roads across the UK to reduce emissions.
  • A1 Blaydon Gateshead – permanent 60mph speed limit
  • M621 junctions 6 to 7 Leeds – 40mph speed limit for safety during roadworks
  • M32 junctions 1 to 3 – 60mph speed limit for road safety

How do these trials work?

The 60mph speed limits are clearly displayed on roadside signs. The speed limits are usually in force 24 hours a day, subject to operational issues.

These include roadworks or breakdowns, which could mean they have to vary the times the 60mph speed limits for air quality are live.

Due to National Highways measuring emissions on annual mean figures, the restrictions are in place around the clock to bring down emissions levels at these locations.

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