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Axe speed bumps to improve air quality says new report

Auto Express logo Auto Express 1/12/2016 Joe Finnerty
Skoda Yeti rear tracking © Otis Clay Skoda Yeti rear tracking

Removal of speed bumps, more variable speed limits, "no idling" zones and further congestion charging should all be introduced to cut pollution, according to a new report.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released draft guidelines for councils and town planners in a bid to promote "smooth" driving and stop harsh acceleration and braking that increases pollution.

Health experts believe that by bringing in measures to stop drivers speeding up and slowing down, emissions can be hugely reduced as road traffic causes more than 64 per cent of air pollution in urban areas. Air pollution and its health impact also costs the UK up to £18.6 billion a year.

An alternative to speed bumps suggested in the report is the introduction of 20mph speed zones in areas with stop-start traffic while real-time 50mph variable speed limits should be brought in on congested motorways to encourage free-flowing traffic.

Towns and cities should also consider congestion charging to tackle high pollution areas, according to the draft report, and “no-idling” zones around schools should be encouraged to prevent parents leaving engines running when dropping off or picking up children. 

Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE said: “The battle against air pollution has to be one we are all fully committed to.

“This draft guidance seeks to redesign how we work and live in cities. When finalised, its recommendations will ensure that everyone who has the power to make the changes required can be confident in the action they are taking.”

Other suggestions proposed by NICE include "car-free days" for some areas, building homes with living rooms at the back of houses away from roads and siting cycle routes away from main roads.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes backed the guidelines and added: "While only in draft form at this stage, there is a lot in NICE’s guidelines that is worthy of serious consideration when it comes to tackling air quality. Empowering town and city planners to consider air quality when it comes to the location and new developments and infrastructure is also critical."

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