Reducing the speed limit could threaten British economy, warns RAC
The RAC have warned that the recent proposal to cut speed limits on motorways could potentially harm the British economy.
The Highways Agency recently announced intentions to cut a specific zone on the M1 to 60mph. Junction 28 of the M1 at Mansfield and junction 35a for Sheffield and Rotherham would be cut to a 60mph speed limit seven days a week between 7am and 7pm.
The 32-mile stretch was targeted after the Highways Agency revealed its concerns that the emissions and excessive air pollution may be impacting upon the health of nearby residents. The proposal was directed at meeting targets set by the European Union in a campaign for cleaner air.
Environmental assessments by the Highways Agency analysed the proposed programme and the section of the M1, concluding that there is “likely to be an adverse impact on local air quality if the motorway continued to operate at the national speed limit”.
However the RAC have been quick to outline that this will be the first time speed limits have been implemented with the goal of lessening emissions in mind. They have also recently cautioned that the scheme is likely to have a negative economic effect on Britain.
“While preserving air quality is obviously a paramount concern there will inevitably be a negative impact on business efficiency and individual mobility,” said RAC technical director David Bizley.
The targeted stretch of motorway is also intended to be a part of the “smart motorway” initiative. This involves the hard shoulder being used as a lane to relieve congestion in times of heavy traffic. With the restriction being imposed on the road from 3rd March, and the smart motorway scheme to begin in the spring, it is argued that the restriction is almost certain to hinder smart motorway benefits.
Brian MacDowall, chairman of campaign group the Alliance of British Drivers, supported these concerns by pointing out: “Motorways are the main transport arteries of the nation and are vital to the economy.”
Many motor campaigners, including the RAC, suggest that the government are misdirecting their efforts. Many would be shocked to know that a reduction of merely 10mph could cut significant emissions.
They also suggest encouraging drivers to purchase newer and more environmentally efficient cars.
“Air quality is important, but it has improved massively in recent years and will continue to do so, as newer, cleaner vehicles replace older ones,” Mcdowall added.