MOTORWAY speed limits are being slashed to 60mph in an attempt to cut down on dangerous levels of air pollution.
Speeds have been reduced on sections of the M1, M6, and M5 in a bid to reduce the illegally high levels of emissions.
Highways England identified 30 areas where levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceed the legal limit.
NO2 pollution can cause damage to the human respiratory tract and can increase a person’s chance of getting respiratory infections and asthma.
The areas includes the A3 near Guildford where the limits are close to double the legal limit.
Highways England will keep the new speed limits in place for the “foreseeable future” until the pollution falls below the limit.
Road transport is responsible for around 50 per cent of the total emissions of NO2.
HGVs are also going to be diverted from two sections of the A500 to junction 15 of the M6 during off-peak times, The Telegraph reports.
Highways England said the “long-term” solution against the high levels of pollution would be by the introduction of electric vehicles.
“We are committed to supporting the Government to improve air quality alongside and near England’s motorways and major A roads,” Mike Wilson, the chief highways engineer at Highways England, said.
“Air quality is within legal limits across the vast majority of our road network, and the picture is improving.”
GREEN TAXES ON CARS & FLIGHTS
Last week, the Government suggested that green taxes are likely to be introduced on cars and flights in a bid to reduce the UK’s transport emissions.
The Transport Secretary unveiled his new “greenprint” plan last Wednesday which aims to “decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050”.
The document suggests that new motoring taxes will be introduced to counteract the loss of fuel duty as petrol and diesel cars disappear from the roads.
It states that the Government will ensure that “revenue from motoring taxes keeps pace” with the switch to electric cars so that it can continue to find “the first-class public services and infrastructure that people and families across the UK expect”.
According to The Telegraph, among the plans being considered is the introduction of a road pricing scheme that could see drivers pay tolls or per mile.
This would be based on an in-vehicle tracking system.