Essex Speed Limits Are Being Reduced To Slash Emissions

Essex Speed Limits Are Being Reduced To Slash Emissions

Essex Council has announced that it’ll be slashing speed limits throughout the authority in order to reduce emissions. It’s the latest council to clamp down on driving…

Slashing Speed Limits 

Drivers in Essex will soon need to give themselves a bit more time before setting out on journeys; at least if they’re using the A127 to the north of Basildon. Its speed limit is being reduced from 70 mph to 50 mph in order to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. The local council claims that, through the initiative, NOx levels will reach safe levels by 2021. It’s not a result of local initiative, however, and instead follows the issuing of a ministerial directive from the government; calling for improvements to local air quality. It has been claimed that travelling at 50 mph produces 20% fewer emissions than driving at 70 mph. In addition, most car engines are at their most efficient at the former speed.

The Council has said that work will begin on the 27th of January to enforce the new limit. This will involve the installation of speed cameras and new signage. Whilst the A127 has been highlighted as a particularly polluting area, the measures are also designed to improve congestion. The Highways Essex website, clearly anticipating criticism, elaborates on the benefits of the measure. It states, “while traffic is often slower than 50 mph at peak times, having a consistently lower speed limit helps to improve journey time reliability by smoothing the traffic flow, because it reduces the number of times vehicles have to stop and start again”. It continues, “this in turn reduces the time traffic is stationary or moving slowly in queues, and has an air quality benefit as vehicles’ engines emit the most NOx emissions when they are switched on but not moving, or moving slowly”.

A Trend That’s Gaining Pace

We’re not yet at the end of January and already a number of councils are announcing far-reaching measures in improving air quality. This usually means clamping down on motoring; especially in, and around, towns and cities. It’s not surprisingly either, a large number of authorities have a legal obligation to reduce harmful emissions. Which is why Bristol is introducing a diesel ban, Birmingham is weighing up banning ‘through trips’ and Oxford is consulting over the nation’s first ‘zero-emission zone.’ All of these have implications for private motorists, businesses and local communities. Without dismissing the seriousness of the current emissions situation, one can’t help but wonder whether authorities have waited to take action at the last minute. Should this be the case, many drivers will feel justified in voicing their grievances.

So, where next? Manchester? Newcastle? Glasgow? You can bet that more councils will introduce tough measures to improve air quality. This will be of interest to fleets; forcing them to consider new charges and, potentially, longer journeys. Let’s hope their interests are taken into account during the decision-making process.

Oxford To Implement Nation’s First Zero Emission Zone –

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