Highways England is looking at a range of options to improve air quality in areas where emissions from traffic are dangerously high, including more 60 mph limits, 30-feet high barriers and new traffic management to take lorries a different route.
Its report Air Quality on England’s Strategic Road Network: Progress Update it says that, while the long-term plan is to move to less polluting vehicles, in the meantime it has worked with thee Department for Transport and the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit to explore “a wide range of measures and ideas”.
It looked at 101 links on the SRN that were originally identified to have NO2 above the annual limit and says of these 30 SRN PCM remain above the annual limit, 36 are now below and another 35 are having further testing undertaken.
Highways England says reduced speed limits for air quality are deliverable for eight of nine links it had identified, but for 12 of the 15 traffic management studies, it concluded that they offered no viable improvements in traffic conditions and therefore would not result in improvements in
air quality. Of the remaining three feasibility studies, two are progressing to detailed design on the A500 and the outcomes and recommendations of the remaining feasibility study for the A3 are being considered. This study includes a proposed 30 feet (9.3m) high barrier alongside
the A3 at Guildford.
In the report, Highways England says its finding provisionally show that air quality is now within the permissible limits at many of the locations previously identified as above the annual mean NO2
limit value, but that it will continue to work hard to find and develop innovative solutions to improve air quality in the shortest time possible.
(Picture – Yay Images)