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Speed restrictions proposed for M3 to improve air quality

Consultation launched into plans to introduce a 60mph speed limit along stretch of M3 motorway to tackle vehicle emissions

The Highways Agency has announced proposals to impose a 60mph speed limit along a 4.5km stretch of the M3 motorway, to tackle air quality issues arising from increased traffic in the area.

According to the Agency, the stretch of road which is between junctions three and four near Camberley in Surrey has seen elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide during peak times as a result of congestion.

A map showing the proposed area the speed restriction will cover

A map showing the proposed area the speed restriction will cover

A consultation into the proposals was launched yesterday (February 13), with interested parties given until April 11 to comments on the plans.

In order to address the problems, the Highways Agency has proposed to increase motorway capacity and reduce congestion, as well as to smooth traffic flows.

In the consultation document, the Highways Agency said: “We are consulting on the proposed implementation of a maximum 60mph speed limit operating from 7am to 7pm for a 4.5km length between junctions 3 to 4 of the M3 motorway to tackle an air quality issue arising from increasing motorway capacity at this location by converting he hard shoulder into a running lane, potentially resulting in higher levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution particularly at peak times.”

AQMA

The document adds that the section of road passes through or close to a number of Air Quality Management Areas – put in place by Surrey Heath and Runnymede borough council.

The Highways Agency claims that its proposals will mitigate air quality problems by managing traffic growth and ensuring that any increase in the volume of vehicles on the road is restricted to a level that does not contribute to worsening air quality.

It is predicted that the measures may only be needed up to 2019 as cleaner vehicles with less emissions will likely come into wider use.

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