Do Lower Speeds Equal Lower Emissions?

speed = emissions


Do Lower Speeds Equal Lower Emissions?


Speed limits are being imposed on some sections of motorway in England as part of a continued nationwide lower emissions scheme.


Highways England (HE) has partnered with the Department for Transport and the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit to monitor and modify potentially 101 sections of the national road network where levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed legal limits.

Of the 101 sections of road highlighted by the study, 30 were found to have above-average levels of NO². 8 of those areas now have a lower speed limit in place, in an effort to reduce the emissions generated by traffic.

Some of the affected areas:

  • M1 motorway near Rotherham
  • junctions 1-2 of the M5 in the West Midlands
  • M6 at Witton in Birmingham.


Current Schemes


Highways England is also looking into other ways of reducing emissions around busy roads.

Plans include:

  • Fitting buses with an exhaust filtration device. The device claims to lower the nitrogen oxides output of each bus.
  • Traffic-flow improvement schemes to reduce idling time and congestion on the roads.
  • Diverting heavy goods vehicles at peak travel times on certain roads.

However, despite all these upcoming plans the body has stated that they couldn’t feasibly deploy emissions-reducing measures in a timeframe quicker than that already forecasted.




A spokesperson said:

“We continue to investigate whether there are new or emerging ideas and/or technologies that could be considered”.


HE Forecasts


HE forecasts that emissions levels will come down naturally as electric vehicles continue to become more popular.

  • It’s supporting the switch to EVs with a scheme to incentivise electric van usage. From 2020-2025 EV charging facilities will be improved in Bristol, Derby and Nottingham
  • As part of the government’s plan to make Britain’s roads carbon-neutral by 2050, Highways England are also looking at their own infrastructure to make improvements
  • They have pledged to install make its own vehicle fleet fully electric by 2030
  • Plant an additional three million trees by 2030


How Can Cambrian Help?


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Do Lower Speeds Equal Lower Emissions?