19 November 2013

The consultation launched by the Highways Agency regarding variable mandatory speed limits on the M60 between junctions 8 and 20 makes clear that changes have been made because of possible detrimental affects on air quality.

The consultation document makes clear that the Agency looked extensively at the option to provide all-lane running on the M60 section between junctions 8 and 18.

"However," the consultation document states, "our environmental assessment concluded that creating this improvement would result in an increase in traffic using the motorway which would then have a detrimental affect on air quality."

The aim is therefore to develop solutions that will help improve this section of the motorway network while complying with statutory air quality limits.

Campaigners have welcomed the shelving of plans for more lanes on the section of the M60 in Greater Manchester.

Alan Andrews, environmental lawyer at ClientEarth said: "The Highways Agency deserve credit for getting this one right. Air pollution in Manchester is already way above legal limits, and it’s the same story in towns and cities throughout the UK."

Sian Berry, coordinator of Campaign for Better Transport’s (CBT) Roads to Nowhere campaign said that this should be a precedent-setting decision by the Highways Agency.

CBT believe that the decision could have repercussions for a number of other contentious road schemes where potential health impacts have already been identified including: the A14 in Cambridgeshire; the A556 Knutsford bypass; and the Silvertown Tunnel/Gallions Reach Bridge in London.

The M60 consultation document can be found at http://bit.ly/1bzk4iO.