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Essex County Council works are set to get underway to reduce the speed limit on a stretch of the A127 as part of a project to improve air quality and road safety.
Roadside tests have shown that a section of the A127 between east and west Basildon exceeds national air quality safe limits for nitrogen dioxide.
To reduce exhaust emissions and improve air quality, Essex County Council is reducing the speed limit from national speed limit to 50mph on the A127.
The new limit will be in place on both carriageways between the existing 40mph speed limit near the Fortune of War roundabout and approximately 470m east of the Pound Lane (westbound) and Cranfield Park Road (eastbound) junctions.
Vehicles’ engines work more efficiently at about 50mph and lowering speeds from 70mph to 50mph can reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions from car exhausts by up to 20 per cent.
Overnight works to introduce the new limit, which include replacing road signs and installing average speed cameras, are scheduled to start on Monday 27 January and planned to take approximately six weeks.
Temporary lane restrictions will be in place between 9pm and 5am to enable crews to work safely at the roadside, with traffic reduced to one lane overnight.
Some individual road closures will also be required in order to calibrate average speed cameras, and signed diversion routes will be provided. Details of the road closures are still being finalised and information will be available online shortly at: www.essex.gov.uk/airquality.
The new 50mph speed limit will come into force as soon as the works commence on Monday 27 January.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said:
“Reducing potentially harmful vehicle emissions is vitally important, not only in protecting the environment, but also for the health of our residents.
“Air quality is linked to a number of health problems and is estimated to cost the UK about than £20billion every year.
“By lowering the speed limit, we can reduce vehicle emissions on this stretch of the A127 and bring air quality to safe levels by 2021, as well as improving road safety and journey time reliability.
“We all have a part to play in protecting the planet and, where possible, I would also encourage people to consider swapping some car journeys for more sustainable travel such as walking, cycling or using public transport.”
Leader of Basildon Council, Councillor Gavin Callaghan said:
“The quality of air in our borough is of great concern to all of us. A reduction of the speed limit to 50mph is a key step in bringing a substantial improvement to the air quality in this area. However, if a charging clean air zone was imposed in Basildon it would serve only to damage our businesses and livelihoods and push the problem to other areas like the Basildon stretch of the A13.
“Many of our local businesses are already demonstrating their commitment to improving air quality by altering deliveries to times outside of rush hour and replacing their fleets with hybrid and Euro 6 compliant vehicles.”
For more information about the project, please visit www.essex.gov.uk/airquality.