New 60mph speed limit being trialled on UK roads

A possibly controversial new change is coming to UK roads. In the past few weeks, Highways England has officially begun trialling a new 60mph speed limit across four highways in the country. Its goal is to drive down levels of harmful nitrogen oxide particulates in the air, and if the trial is successful in reducing these emissions, this new speed limit is likely to be rolled out to more areas throughout the country. 

With older cars like used, seized and salvage cars viewed to be the most heavily polluting, this is the latest in a raft of environmental measures to affect these vehicles and drivers, alongside large-scale initiatives like the ULEZ. So what do drivers need to know?

When does the new 60mph limit start, and where does it apply? 

The new 60mph is actually already live, and has been since the end of September. It’s enforced along four main highways throughout England, including:

  • The M6 between Junction 6 and Junction 7, near Birmingham
  • The M1 between Junction 33 and 34, at Rotherham in South Yorkshire
  • The M602 between Junction 1 and Junction 3, near Eccles in Greater Manchester
  • The M5 between Junction 1 and Junction 2, at Oldbury in the West Midlands

These roads were chosen because they’ve all been identified as areas with high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are emitted from the engines of cars driving down them. NO2 is known to be actively harmful to human health, as it aggravates the airways in the human respiratory system.

Road transport is thought to be responsible for around half of total emissions of nitrogen oxides, so it follows that nitrogen dioxide levels tend to be closest to the busiest roads in large urban areas, such as the regions listed above. This kind of air pollution is estimated to be linked to around 40,000 deaths a year.

Reducing these emissions is an ongoing priority for Highways England, which now plans to trial these 60mph limits for 12 months to see if it’s effective in reducing emissions. The government-owned company has said that if after a year these weren’t “having the desired impact after 12 to 15 months. then we’ll remove them and look at alternative ways to tackle air quality in that area”. If the trial is successful though, there’s talk of rolling it out to 100 areas across the UK. 

The first change of many?

This latest measurement is part of the government’s wider plan to bring down NO2 levels across the nation. Another key component of this strategy has already had significant media coverage - the plan to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars before the end of 2040. This will ultimately result in dramatic transformations for salvage cars and online car auctions like ours here at RAW2K.

It’s no secret that electric cars are already being primed to fill this gap in the market, and indeed, Highways England have already stated their intention to keep the restrictions in place until electric cars finally start to make up the majority of vehicles on our roads. What’s more, there’s also the possibility that we’ll see increasing numbers of more dramatic changes like this as the government seeks to discourage the use of older, more polluting cars in advance of the 2040 deadline. 

Thankfully, there’s still plenty of mileage (in every sense of the phrase) in conventional vehicles yet, and we’ve got a huge range of them to choose from right here at RAW2K. We’ve got a great range of used cars from makers like NissanPeugeot and Renault. Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?