60mph speed limit on M1 and M3 motorways rejected

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin rejects proposals to restrict speed in favour of alternative proposals to cut congestion on motorways

Proposals to restrict the speed limit on the M1 and M3 motorways to 60mph were rejected by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin yesterday (July 9).

Plans to restrict speed to 60mph on some sections of the M1 and M3 have been ditched

Plans to restrict speed to 60mph on some sections of the M1 and M3 have been ditched

Instead, the minister has given the Highways Agency 18 months to draw up alternative plans to tackle pollution on sections of the two motorways.

The government has stated that any proposals which include varying speed limits, must only be considered when absolutely necessary.

Commenting on the proposals Mr McLoughlin said: “Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.

“Smart motorways are an effective and cost efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes.”


A consultation on proposals to limit speeds on sections of the roads to 60mph between 7am and 7pm 7 days a week was launched in February (see story). The plans were intended to lessen the effects of air quality arising from traffic on the roads.

A 4.5km stretch of road between junctions three and four near Camberley in Surrey on the M3 and an area between junction 28 at Mansfield and junction 35a at Sheffield on the M1 had been considered for the speed restriction.

In response to the announcement Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton, said: “We support the government’s decision in this difficult and complex area and will be working closely with the Department to deliver the maximum benefits for our road users whilst mitigating further impacts on air quality.”


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