The village of Chideock has become the first in Dorset to have a permanent 30mph speed rating after having gone through an air quality trial.
After a study showed that Chideock Hill is one of the most polluted areas for air in England, Friends of The Earth offered to step up and help.
A report published by Highways England claims that it is “highly likely” that, as from next year (2020), limits will be enforced on other roads where pollution levels are above the legal limit. The new restriction aims at reducing congestion and improving traffic flow whilst simultaneously contributing towards cleaner air for residents living along these routes.
Previously 40mph, the new 30mph speed restriction is set to be made permanent in the Dorset village of Chideock following a successful trial run by Highways England, who initiated an air quality test after it was identified as an Air Quality Management Area by local officials from the council’s Environmental Protection Department.
The experimental traffic reduction resulted in better readings for nitrogen dioxide levels and led to temporary parking restrictions implemented until November 2019. As such, residents are hopeful that their request will come into effect soon.
After an 18 month trial of monitoring equipment, patrols and temporary speed restrictions on some major roads in the UK’s second largest city, officials found that nitrogen dioxide levels had gone down as expected. Highways England Route Manager commented that it is their own responsibility to tackle the levels of pollution produced using their network, and assured the media that they are working alongside Dorset Council to improve the air quality across the city, while the limit is in place specifically between Ruins Lane through to Muddyford Lane.
Andy Roberts, Highways England Route Manager for the A35, said: We have a responsibility to tackle pollution caused by vehicles using our network and we’re working in partnership with Dorset Council to improve air quality in Chideock,
As part of our ongoing work, we undertook and completed a trial which saw additional diffusion tubes installed and an electric-powered van monitoring real-time pollution before and after the speed limit change,
This identified a small reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels following the reduction of the speed limit and as a result of the localised air quality benefit, we propose to make the extended 30mph zone a permanent fixture,
We have also funded and delivered an electric vehicle charging point in the village, and although the air quality challenge will ultimately be solved at the tailpipe by vehicle manufacturers and changes in vehicle use, we will continue to work with Dorset Council and monitor air quality.”
The committee also took it upon themselves to install an electric vehicle charging point in the village in December that has been operational ever since. This is intended to remain in this location with the intention to work with Dorset Council in its Air Quality Action Plan.
The UK Government shared a press release available here on the topic.