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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says smoother driving means cleaner air

20mph limits across urban areas would protect the quality of air and encourage walking and cycling, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

NICE, which reviews evidence on health policies, said “unnecessary acceleration and deceleration”  which cause additional emissions.

It advises authorities to set “20 mph limits without physical measures to reduce speeds in urban areas where average speeds are already low (below around 24 mph) to avoid unnecessary accelerations and decelerations”

20mph limits are increasingly being used in areas including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hammersmith and Fulham, where councils have justified their wide area 20mph limits both on health grounds from fewer casualties, and due to reduced acceleration and encouraging modal shift away from car use towards non-polluting methods like walking and cycling – which all improve air quality.

NICE added: “Where physical speed reduction measures are used to reduce road danger and injuries, consider using them to encourage drivers to maintain a reduced, steady pace along the whole stretch of road, rather than road humps that may increase acceleration- and braking-related emissions”

Rod King MBE, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us said: “Many authorities recognise that 20mph helps them to both meet their air quality as well as ‘duty of care’ responsibilities to the vulnerable. In fact switching to a 20mph limit makes a significant reduction in the most dangerous NOx and PM10 emissions.

“It is entirely appropriate for NICE to make this recommendation to direct local authorities in their statutory duty to improve air quality and public health.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

12 comments

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hawkinspeter [784 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Sounds a good idea to me. They should put 20mph limits on each road that has excessive air pollution in an effort to limit the damage to people. However, that may impact unfairly on electric vehicles that have virtually no emissions whilst driving (obviously pollution is still produced to make their electric power initially).

In related news, car manufacturers (except Tesla) are rallying against China's efforts to curtail vehicle pollution:

https://electrek.co/2017/07/13/automakers-but-tesla-china-slow-down-electric-car-mandate/

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Simon E [3046 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

They should put 20mph limits on each road that has excessive air pollution in an effort to limit the damage to people.

Tweaking speed limits isn't really going to help.

Shouldn't they be reducing the number of cars, vans and lorries on those roads if they are serious about wanting to reduce air pollution?

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hawkinspeter [784 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Simon E wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

They should put 20mph limits on each road that has excessive air pollution in an effort to limit the damage to people.

Tweaking speed limits isn't really going to help.

Shouldn't they be reducing the number of cars, vans and lorries on those roads if they are serious about wanting to reduce air pollution?

I think the speed limits are to encourage smoother driving, so less acceleration and deceleration which produce proportionally more of the pollutants than driving at a constant speed.

To really tackle air pollution, we should be providing bigger incentives for low pollution transport (e.g. bikes, electric vehicles, public transport) and increasing taxes for worse offenders. (Or follow China's lead with their zero-emission mandate).

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rliu [98 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Latest department of transport stats show over 80% of observed traffic break the speed limit in 20mph zones, dropping to about 40% for 30mph zones.
People pretty much decide for themselves what speed they want to do, speed limit zones are useless without corresponding enforcement. It'd be far more effective to increase penalties for dangerous or careless driving to improve motoring standards.

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Awavey [310 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

My observation of living on a 20mph road is precious few worry about the physical measures as it is,as they'll just get a new car on credit in a few years anyway,remove the physical measures completely you might as well set autobahn limits on all roads

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BarryBianchi [178 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Councils won't even see their way to putting limits in place outside schools, let alone any other pie-in-the-sky stuff.

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embattle [53 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

It is ironic that using 20MPH limits in places often happens in areas where you are lucky if you can even do half that or in locations where sleeping policemen already exists which as most people know are a large cause of extra pollution.

 

In one local area to me that I pass every other day they recently put a 20 limit along the road as it passes a number of schools which was quite silly since at the time of child pickup and drop off no one gets over 10MPH.

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Pub bike [231 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

The Police can't be bothered with doing this stuff directly but it seems that there is a scheme in London for local people to participate in enforcing speed limits...

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kitsunegari [234 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

20 MPH speed limits are useless without encforcement.

Cambridge went 20MPH in the city ages ago, and the roads are still used like race tracks.

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kitsunegari [234 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

Shouldn't they be reducing the number of cars, vans and lorries on those roads if they are serious about wanting to reduce air pollution?

The government is not serious about wanting to reduce air pollution.

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hawkinspeter [784 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
rliu wrote:

Latest department of transport stats show over 80% of observed traffic break the speed limit in 20mph zones, dropping to about 40% for 30mph zones. People pretty much decide for themselves what speed they want to do, speed limit zones are useless without corresponding enforcement. It'd be far more effective to increase penalties for dangerous or careless driving to improve motoring standards.

If the speed limits are being ignored, then it's not rocket surgery to step up the enforcement. It's not even difficult to set up automatic speed cameras that will provide a nice revenue stream until drivers get it through their heads that they are likely to be caught.

All it need is the political will to allow people to breathe clean air (i.e. not with the Tories in power).

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BarryBianchi [178 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

 

If the speed limits are being ignored, then it's not rocket surgery to step up the enforcement. It's not even difficult to set up automatic speed cameras that will provide a nice revenue stream until drivers get it through their heads that they are likely to be caught.

All it need is the political will to allow people to breathe clean air (i.e. not with the Tories in power).

I think you underestimate the gross flaccid uslesness and pure greedy self-interest of the average local government member; they really don't give a flying toss if it doesn't help them personally.