posted 5 years ago

M1 Speed Limit Could Be Reduced To 60MPH

Highways Agency Plans To Improve Air Quality By Cutting Speed Limit

The Highways Agency is considering lowering the speed limit on the M1 to meet air quality regulations. This 60mph limit - which is the subject of a consultation document - could be enforced from Junction 28 to 35A between 7am and 7pm (everyday). It would include the carriageway, slip roads and intersections. But why? The problem is that at certain times the motorway is congested. The potential solution – and this is happening irrespective of the speed limit consultation - is to create a managed motorway that increases capacity by enabling traffic to use the hard shoulder as required. Managed motorways also have variable speed limits. So, imagine a scenario: the computer based system concludes that the volume of traffic could cause congestion. It therefore creates space by opening the hard shoulder and imposing a lower limit for vehicles approaching the congestion. This allows time for the trouble to clear. However, this approach could lead to a higher volume of motorway traffic which could increase pollutants if the national speed limit is retained. Lowering the limit should minimise any damage. The Highways Agency – which claims it might raise the limit in the future if air quality is sufficient – has asked people to express any views on lowering the limit by March 3rd 2014.

Managed Motorway Network In UK

The managed motorway network spans key locations throughout the country and is expanding rapidly. Work is in progress on the M6 Junction 10A to 13 at a cost of £87.5 million. This complements efforts on M3 Junction 2 to 4A (£134 to £183 million), the M25 Junction 23 to 27 (£188 million) and the M25 Junction 5 to 7 (£129 million). As part of these initiatives workers will create emergency refuge areas for motorists that have technical problems. These will be wider than the traditional hard shoulder so there will be more room for breakdown personnel to repair and recover vehicles. They will also incorporate telephones that have connections to regional control centres that will be placed behind safety barriers at heights suitable for disabled users. The telephones will also incorporate numerous language options for foreign drivers and a text facility for those with hearing problems. Furthermore, there will be easy to read overhead signs to confirm the current speed limit and when the hard shoulder is available as a running lane.


In the US the speed limit is 55MPH and has been for years. They all just get on with it and so should we. Our road networks are behind most EEC member states in terms of quality and capacity. Our island is just that, our population has become inflated, vehicle ownership and therefore usage has accelerated to levels that now cause problems.

"They will also incorporate telephones that have connections to regional control centres that will be placed behind safety barriers at heights suitable for disabled users" Sop the disabled will have to climb over the safety barrier to use the telephone! Does this indicate how much thought has gone into theses proposals?

The problem in this section of the M1 is that it comes down to 2 lanes over the viaduct. All the traffic slows because of drivers wanting to turn off a the last second.

This is just the starter from a meddling communistic federation who nobody voted for, tyre tread depths are next to be altered, and toll roads will be the norm, so lets not forget the reason we were forced to go onto insipid "Led Free" fuel in the first place, it was to cure exhaust emissions and air quality once and for all. Anyway they are pulling the wool over our eyes because when a combustion engine is running at 80 mph it uses about 20 parts of air to 1 of fuel, at 30 mph it runs about 50/50 so the faster it runs, the more efficient and clean it is.

The problem is that there are too many junctions on motorways in and around large cities, particularly London. A reduction in junctions by 25% would make for a much less fluctuating motorway, traffic volume and max speed could be increased to 80 mph in line with the rest of Europe. No 60mph!

As one contributor has said, it wasn't long ago that the police were campaigning for motorway limits to be increased to 80mph.60 is absolutely ridiculous as is the proposal to allow driving on the hard shoulder, I'll be surprised if the police allow that. What happens if a car breaks down? It would probably cause a major accident & how would the emergency services then get to the scene with no hard shoulder to travel on as it would be blocked by all the vehicles on it. As usual the Government are blinkered & completely fail to see the side effects of their actions. I bet the French & Germans won't be doing anything similar, they have sensible speed limits & don't pander to Brussels diktat unlike our leaders. The sooner we get away from the corrupt Eurozone the better.

Trucks comprise of the majority emissions on motorways as they are limited to 56 mph the CO2 saving will be zero. At peak times 60 mph is a distant dream that can be only achieved for short stretches hence almost zero CO2 saving. BUT short stretches can raise good revenue in fines!! Stop start traffic is the real CO2 generator such as the wave effect generated by speed restriction signs left on or spuriously posted. This results in traffic stopping then speeding up again.

Lets be honest, the powers to be know this has nothing to do with saving the polar bears and everything to do with generating more speeding fines income.

This sounds like a government scam to make it look like they have cut emissions, so it looks good for them in brussels. Most week days 60MPH would be fantastic on a motorway at rush hour, if only Ah.

During the peak periods on the stretch of motorway would be futile as it often impossible to get to 60MPH. Putting a mandatory 60 speed limit on would then mean that car users outside the peak periods would have longer journey times and I believe that it would be a very debatable point if emission levels would be affected by retaining the current standard speed limit.

Responding to your other contributors, (1) I believe that the reduced speed should both increase fuel economy and reduce emissions since it is not normally necessary to change down from top gear until the speed drops to about 40 MPH (even up hill). (2)Running an older vehicle (a 1996 A4 Tdi) I have noticed in published information that this vehicle does theoretically contribute about another +15% of harmful emissions compared with its modern day counterparts. However the vehicle is otherwise in very good condition and covers barely 5000 miles per annum, which is a factor in limiting its total annual emissions I would ask readers to remember that there is an environmental cost of scrapping cars since the energy consumed to make a new vehicle was once estimated to be 30 tons of cola equivalent - so it could actually be a good ecological act for low mileage older motorists to keep older vehicles running in good condition, especially if they are not gas guzzlers. My own vehicle is at its most wasteful and most polluting on short runs before it has properly warmed up, but has still managed to achieve 60mpg on a motorway at 60mph recently. I would expect the economy to fall and the pollution to increase as the aerodynamic losses increase above this speed. Whilst slow may be boring it almost certainly does reduce both emissions and fuel consumption.

Not even six months ago the powers that be were telling us the speed limit could be increased to 80 mph... what happened??

One word - Stupid. seeing as the largest polluters are the heavy goods vehicles and they are already limited to such speeds it isn't going to make a bit of difference and if you have regularly driven that stretch of the M1 you will know that 70+ would be a dream for the traffic. Much better to encourage people to drive properly and use lanes better so that traffic flows rather than constantly slowing and speeding up.

The proposed speed change is ridiculous, most cars are designed to cruise at 70Mph in top gear. The speed limit drop will cause some drivers to change down a gear and use more fuel! If you ask me, the problem should be tackled at the cause, reduce the amount of older cars which reduce more Co2. The government scrapage scheme was a great way for motorists to purchase 'newer cleaner cars' which they normally wouldn’t be able to afford, thus reducing the air everywhere not just the M1!

Interesting proposal but if you use the motors ways and dual carriage ways one thing has become very apparent to me as a user. That everyone stays in the middle or outside lane and the nearside lane is usually clear, no one moves back after they have over taken, they just sit there in middle or outside causing other motorist to perform dangerous situations and under take them on their nearside. I notice this a lot these days. Some of it is because their satnav stay's stay in outside lane! but most of the time it is bad driving and therefore there should be a campaign to promote better driving standards on these types of road for this type of problem. Hope this is of use.

This is fairly pathetic. When there is traffic: vehicle drivers can only wish they might be doing 60 or 70 so reducing speed limits is pointless. Also most vehicles designed for long distances have high top gears, the engine in which may not be comfortable at the lower rpm of 60 instead of 70 just like the 50 limits that are yet to be put back to 70. This actually increases pollutants because for the same distance the engine has turned over a similar number of times but in a lower gear so has taken longer to cover said distance and spent longer putting out the gases.