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Quite so, quite so

Air pollution speed limits that force motorists to drive at 60mph should end, campaigners have said, after it emerged they have lasted twice as long as originally proposed without producing evidence they work.

Drivers on stretches of the M1, the M6, the M5 and the M602 have been limited to a top speed of 60mph in a bid to ascertain if driving more slowly helps reduce emissions.

But the restrictions, which were only supposed to last between 12 and 15 months, have now been running for more than two years, despite no evidence to show they are effective.

There are even questions over whether the increased congestion caused by the new speed limit may have actually increased pollution.

Motoring groups and a former roads minister are among those now calling on National Highways to come clean with the data or end the trials.

Testing stuff is just great. But the aim is actually yo test stiff. Which means doing it, measuring it, then publishing.

20 thoughts on “Quite so, quite so”

  1. Why bother testing and measuring stuff when they already have the (modelled) answers they want?

    See also, gene therapy, global warming (although as global warming hasn’t been co-operating as promised, soon to be rebooted as ‘climate variabilty’).

  2. Bloke near Worcester

    Addolff, indeed. One suspects that they have the results of the trial, that they are not published is because they are the ‘wrong’ results.

  3. We sometimes drive that bit of the M1 at Sheffield Catcliffe. The amusing thing is the invariable hot metal smell from the large foundry between there and Meadowhall. So much for air pollution.

  4. Like Addolff, I presumed this was the standard way of getting things done now.
    The London council, where I was living some years ago, wanted to bring in a “residents parking zone”. First they did a “consultation”. ( Because they got money from the GLA for doing one?) That produced 69% of residents & 98% of businesses against. So a month after the consultation results were made public, it was introduced as “a trial period”. Whereupon the pay & display ticket machines ( which have an 18 month order lead time) appeared. And thus the area lost 10% of it’s resident parking spaces, visitors pay a packet to park & residents likewise for residents’ parking permits. One can only presume the “trial” was successful by some undisclosed metric because it’s still there & has been widened.
    As an aside, having been using Google Street View yesterday to look at the double glazing on Hackney council flats – gathering information on another of Tim’s posts – went for a virtual wander around over what was once familiar territory. Jeez! the number of cameras. They’re everywhere. And the amount of road signs. “If you can see this we can see you” Some of them I can’t even work out what they mean. “Except bicycles” What except bicycles? It’s a straight bit of road with no junction. Not surprised everywhere’s 20mph. You’d need to be going slower than that to read all the signs. Driving round there must be nervewracking. Never knowing what offence you’re about to commit. Am I glad I left. You lot must be mad to put up with all that. What’s wrong with you?

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    See also, gene therapy, global warming (although as global warming hasn’t been co-operating as promised, soon to be rebooted as ‘climate variabilty’).

    Addolff, indeed. One suspects that they have the results of the trial, that they are not published is because they are the ‘wrong’ results.

    Reality is climate science’s replication crises.

  6. My local road closure scheme has, so far been for anti COVID (local high infection spot), avoiding satnav induced main road traffic (justifying data was wrong and withdrawn), preventing short local journeys (it puts up road miles) , reducing pollution (asthma is up , pollution is up) and generally induced local congestion and slowed bus routes. It has however put up house prices in which the local councillors have vested interests.

  7. BnW @ 8.34 – I may have posted this here before, but Ben Goldacre gave this talk 10+ years ago on bad science and how ‘inconvenient’ results get memory holed:

    BiND @8.49 Richard Feynman “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong”.

    Unfortunately, these days ‘if it doesn’t agree with experiment ignore the experiment’…..

  8. Consultations pshaw. We had a consultation about introducing parking restrictions with 96% against. Did the council care ?

    I observed a pollution reduction scheme around Brussels a few years ago. The main E40 on its approaches to and from the city ( the Ring already has this ) had a 90kph limit imposed for air quality with Belgyplod strictly enforcing it. The obvious result was that all the cars were now travelling at the same speed, bunching up together and creating a huge smog cloud, especially on that 4 lane stretch between Brussels and Leuven. I think they cancelled it in the end, I havent done that journey in a while.

  9. BiS: You lot must be mad to put up with all that.

    I go to London as infrequently as possible which is very infrequently and you’re right. It’s extremely hard to keep to a 20MPH limit and the ubiquitous red light cameras mean that I and many motorists slow down when approaching a green traffic light for fear of being snapped.

  10. Could it be that engines are now so efficient and fuels so much cleaner that any air pollution caused is insignificant particularly since engines are designed and managed to give best fuel burn at higher speeds?

    However we do know that ‘traffic calming measures’ in towns and cities increase air pollution because of the constant braking and accelerating or low speeds which results in incompletely burnt hydrocarbons being emitted, and it increases fuel consumption which will ‘destroy the Planet’.

    It also creates a noise nuisance as vehicles reverse their engines and accelerate away.

  11. I see the National Grid is instigating its emergency scheme tonight where qualifying consumers are “paid” to not use energy between certain hours. “Asked if it could become a ‘feature of British life each winter, Mr Dyke told the BBC: ‘It’s something we strongly believe in. This is the start of something much much bigger’.”

    You can literally bet your life it is.

  12. All those smart meters have a lovely off switch built in. Some even have two to kill two circuits. Now the electricity companies swear hand on heart that they won’t use that for load shedding but I doubt that will survive panic measures by the government. As we have seen recently, the govt can easily become as authoritarian as Mr Kim.

  13. Thing is, it was never about testing. They already ‘knew’ the answer they wanted – which was make everyone drive slower.

    The testing is the lie they needed to tell to get what they wanted.

  14. I’ve noticed a pattern with country speed limits.
    A national speed limit road between towns flows pretty well most of the time.
    Then the traffic monitoring wires going across the road appear at intervals.
    That tells you that there’ll be a 50mph limit within two years.
    Within a year to eighteen months of the speed limit being imposed, the monitoring wires appear again.
    That tells you that most or all of that road will have average speed cameras within two years.

  15. Speed limits are just speed limits. The reason for them being the excuse! There are only two countries I am aware of that understand this – Germany and the Isle of Man. Neither of which are known for being polution hot spots!

  16. Wonko

    As it happens…
    In the news on the Jerry wireless today was the latest attempt to impose speed limits on the Hun public. Introducing a speed limit of 130 kph will save 2million tons of CO2 a year. Before that it was air quality ( see above ). Strangely safety never seems to get mentioned in any of these “studies”. Unsurprisingly it is in direct contradictio of a German study last year that stated that speed limits had little influence on CO2 emissions.

  17. Absent surge pricing, I like the idea of people who use unpredictable power being able to charge their vehicles intermittently.

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