County calls for halt on M1 speed reduction

5 March 2014

We are opposing proposals to introduce a 60mph speed limit on the M1 between junctions 28 and 31.

The Highways Agency wants to convert the hard shoulder into a fourth lane to widen the 18.5-mile stretch of motorway as part of a project to improve traffic flow and allow greater volumes to use the route.

But by allowing more traffic to use the motorway, air pollution would be increased along the stretch which runs through three air quality management areas.

A 60mph speed limit enforced by speed cameras has been proposed between 7am and 7pm every day by the Highways Agency to help reduce carbon emissions.

But we objected to the proposals as part of a Highways Agency consultation after business organisations including the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chambers of Commerce Group raised concerns.

Councillor Dean Collins, our cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, said:

Business organisations have told us they're concerned about the message a blanket speed reduction sends out.

"We're working hard to attract new businesses to the area and a lower limit will add to the perception that the M1 is overly congested. Other sections of the M1 have air quality management areas but do not have lower speed restrictions as a result, so we don't see why they should be imposed in Derbyshire.

"This area of the county is open for business. It's a great location to base your firm and we wouldn't want businesses to be put off because they were given the wrong impression about this stretch of the motorway."

Chris Hobson, Head of Information and Representation at the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chambers of Commerce Group, added:

The M1 is the main road through the East Midlands and the stretch covered by the proposed 60mph speed restriction is the key gateway through the East Midlands to South and East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and all points north and south.

"We have concerns that reducing the speed limit would negatively impact on businesses in the area, especially those which use that stretch of the motorway multiple times during the day."

We have requested a meeting with the Highways Agency to discuss alternative options to address increasing capacity and environmental issues.

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