60mph speed limit proposal for stretch of M1 motorway

 
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The government is proposing to set up a 60mph speed limit for a 32-mile stretch of the M1, in a bid to cut pollution.

The Highways Agency says the new restriction would apply from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week.

It would be in place from junction 28, near Matlock, Derbyshire, to junction 35a, north of Rotherham.

Variable speed limits are widely used to aid traffic flow, but the RAC said this could be the first time they had been implemented to cut air pollution.

It warned that reducing the maximum speed from the national standard 70mph to 60mph could "pave the way for similar restrictions on other sections of motorway" and there would "inevitably be a negative impact on business efficiency and individual mobility".

'Cleaner vehicles'

The Highways Agency said the lower limit, which has been put out to consultation, was likely to remain for "several years".

In its document, it stated that the current use of the 70mph speed limit for motorways was having "adverse impacts on air quality" and that cutting it would reduce emissions.

It also said the change would bring "reduced congestion, increased capacity and improved journey time reliability for users of the motorway".

The normal speed limit would still apply to the rest of the M1, which runs from north London to Leeds.

Tougher European Union guidelines on air quality have come into force and the agency argued that a lower limit would be needed to ensure these were met on the section from junctions 28 and 35a, which goes past Mansfield, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

It said: "For the purposes of this consultation, it should be assumed that the speed limit will need to be in place for several years. However, we are not able to give an indication in this document of how many years the speed limit will need to be retained."

But the document said: "It is expected that vehicle emissions will reduce as more new, cleaner vehicles come into use and older, more polluting vehicles become obsolete."

The agency said it could change its plans, by limiting the operation of the lower speed limits to peak hours, or Mondays to Fridays.

The length of the stretch of road affected could be shortened too, it added.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "This is a landmark proposal as to the best of our knowledge motorway speed limits have not previously been lowered in order to comply with environmental legislation."

He added that it "would certainly negate some of the current benefits of operating this section as a 'smart' motorway where motorists are allowed to use the hard shoulder to reduce congestion".

Mr Bizley also said: "More worryingly, it could pave the way for similar restrictions on other sections of motorway. While preserving air quality is obviously a paramount concern there will inevitably be a negative impact on business efficiency and individual mobility.

"This very powerfully demonstrates the impact that speed has on emissions and many will be surprised to hear that a reduction of just 10mph can have such a significant effect on improving air quality."

The consultation will close on 3 March.

 

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  • rate this
    -60

    Comment number 477.

    reduce all M way speeds to 55 or 60 and yes believe it or not you may actually get there quicker and thats because you dont have idiots doing 80 or 90 and then slamming on brakes which then cause a ripple effect going back half or mile or so. It all adds up, ask anyone who has studied fluid dynamics, its better to have steady average speed rather than rapid start and stopping

  • rate this
    +167

    Comment number 474.

    Have you ever driven along this section of the M1 during the evening rush hours? 60 mph is something commuters can only dream of. You are lucky to manage 35mph and are often stuck in stop start traffic for miles.

    Acceleration and braking are the main causes of pollution not cruising along.

    Pollution would be much reduced if the traffic was actually able to travel at 70 mph

  • rate this
    +78

    Comment number 176.

    They should not be lowering the speed limit on motorways, they should be raising it. This will make the road safer for everyone.

    While they're at it, put 20mph limits in residential areas and ENFORCE them.

  • rate this
    -206

    Comment number 128.

    The only people who will oppose this are the mini-Clarksons who speed everywhere anyway! I travel at a sensible speed on any road, you may get lunatics trying to pass you but it's the safest way!

    eventually the car will be banned anyway and we'll all have to travel by bike or by train- thus preserving our beautiful environment. we have too much concern for our own frivolity nowadays- buy a bike!

  • rate this
    -67

    Comment number 108.

    I wonder how much CO2 could be cut/saved from banning cars/vans older than 10 years and all lorries & buses from this stretch of motorway

 

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    12:54: Michael Smith, Ottawa

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  51.  
    11:21:

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  64.  
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    BBC graphic
     
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  66.  
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  68.  
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  69.  
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  70.  
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  73.  
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  77.  
    08:02: 'Million-strong crowd' BBC Breakfast

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, outside St. Paul's Cathedral in central London, tells BBC Breakfast a million-strong crowd gathered between the cathedral and Westminster Abbey for Sir Winston Churchill's funeral 50 years ago. "In many places it was 20-people deep as many regarded him as the greatest Englishman who ever lived... he's one of those rare leaders that is remembered in life and in death, however history ultimately judges him," he says.

     
  78.  
    07:51: Churchill's funeral BBC Radio 4

    Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby tells Today he will be watching the replay of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on BBC Parliament this morning. It will be poignant for him, he says, since his father Richard - whose commentary on the event has lived so long in the memory - also died 50 years ago.

     
  79.  
    @BBCBenThompson 07:41: Housing shortage

    BBC business correspondent Ben Thompson tweets: 150,000 new homes built across UK last year but is it enough if demand still outstripping supply? @CountrysideProp boss - 0750 @BBCBreakfast

     
  80.  
    07:37: Behind the scenes at Westminster

    Parliament is not sitting today due to events marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. But those wanting a different insight into how the famous institution works might like to read about a new BBC documentary - Inside the Commons - to be broadcast next week. Michael Cockerell and his team have been behind the scenes at Westminster and not all MPs have been happy about it.

    Documentary-maker Michael Cockerell
     
  81.  
    @BBCr4today 07:28: Medical training BBC Radio 4

    tweets: Plan to reduce length of medical training will lead to "lower standard of expertise" @thomasdolphin, @TheBMA #r4today

     
  82.  
    07:20: 'Dirtiest campaign' The Independent

    Ukip leader Nigel Farage says this general election could be the "dirtiest" campaign in British history. Writing in the Independent, he accused the Conservatives and Labour of employing "attack-campaign" election strategists and "hurling hundreds of thousands of pounds at Facebook and twitter".

     
  83.  
    07:07: Funeral film BBC Radio 4

    The TV pictures of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral remain "compelling viewing" 50 years on, James Rowland from BBC Archive says. There was a "little bit of damage" on the original film and dirt that had to be cleaned off, he tells Radio 4's Today, prior to its rebroadcast on BBC Parliament today. He reflects on the fairly rudimentary camerawork used in 1965, compared to today's standards, remarking that the pictures seem "slightly twitchy".

     
  84.  
    07:06: Churchill event timings

    Here are some of the 50th anniversary timings if you want to plan your day:

    • The Houses of Parliament will host a remembrance service and wreath-laying ceremony at 09:00 GMT
    • BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral, which runs for a little over four hours, at 09:15 GMT.
    • Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT as the Havengore repeats its 1965 journey from the Tower of London to Westminster
    • Westminster Abbey will host a ceremony from 18:00 GMT, with flowers laid at the green marble stone placed there in memorial to Churchill.
     
  85.  
    06:58: Churchill anniversary
    The Havengore carrying Sir Winston Churchill's coffiin along the Thames

    A bit more about what's happening in London later to mark the 50th anniversary of the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey will both host remembrance services, and there'll be a ceremony recreating the flotilla which carried Churchill's coffin along the Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster Pier. Members of Churchill's family will travel along the Thames on the Havengore, which carried his coffin 50 years ago.

     
  86.  
    06:51: 'Three parent baby law'
    Daily Telegraph

    And the Daily Telegraph's lead is on concern from the Church of England that legislation is being rushed through to allow children to be born with three genetic "parents". The technique - mitrochondrial DNA transfer - is being promoted as a way to combat a series of inherited medical conditions.

     
  87.  
    06:45: 'Religious slaughter of animals'
    The Times

    Meanwhile, the Times leads on a big rise in the number of food animals slaughtered without stunning. The British Veterinary Association - which wants the practice banned from Britain - says the number of animals killed in this way has risen by 60%. The paper says this is because of campaigning by Muslims for traditional slaughter methods.

     
  88.  
    06:41: 'Migrant voting power'
    The i

    Migration is the focus of the i newspaper. It says immigrants could decide the result in 70 marginal seats, and Conservatives fear "migrant voting power" could cost them the election.

     
  89.  
    06:36: 'Gas bill rip-off'
    Daily Express

    It's a "gas bill rip-off" for the Daily Express, which says figures show the big six energy suppliers are enjoying bumper profits, as temperatures plummet. The paper says the big firms will pocket an extra £114 per household in the coming year.

     
  90.  
    06:34: The newspapers
    The Guardian

    A quick look at what's making the headlines in the newspapers. Energy prices take a prominent place in a few, with the Guardian saying real take-home pay is less now than it was in 2001, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Men and young workers have noticed the greatest fall in spending power, the paper adds.

     
  91.  
    06:28: Missed Newsnight and This Week?

    Don't worry if you weren't glued to your telly seven hours ago - you can catch up with the full editions of Question Time and This Week by clicking on the 'Live Coverage' tab on this page.

     
  92.  
    06:24: Cameron tribute to Churchill
    Winston Churchill statue outside parliament

    Last night Downing Street released the text of the message on the wreath David Cameron will lay at the statue of Winston Churchill, which stands just outside the Commons chamber. The PM has written: "Britain was so incredibly fortunate that in our hour of greatest need there came forward one of our greatest ever statesmen. 50 years on the light has not dimmed. David Cameron."

     
  93.  
    06:22: Churchill anniversary
    Richard Dimbleby Richard Dimbleby commentating on Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral for the BBC

    Fifty years to the day, BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of the UK's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. Introduced by Sir Winston's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, the historic broadcast runs for a little over four hours. Fourteen reels of film, complete with impeccable commentary by Richard Dimbleby, have been restored, joined and re-mastered. The showing starts at 09:15 GMT.

     
  94.  
    06:20: Good morning Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to a fresh day's coverage of political developments ahead of the 7 May General Election - yes there's just 97 days to go now. You'll be able to listen or watch all the BBC's political output today on this page and we'll be bringing you all the best clips, quotes, analysis, reaction and breaking political news throughout the day. If you want to see what to expect, here's yesterday's campaign countdown.

     

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