What are we doing in South Essex?
What is the problem?
The Government’s National Air Quality Plan identified a number of locations along the A127 in Essex were likely to be exceeding air quality thresholds for nitrogen dioxide.
Further tests found that a section of the A127 between east and west Basildon, and parts of the business area to the south of it (Upper Mayne and East Mayne), have poor air quality that breaks legal limits.
Essex County Council and Basildon Borough Council were issued a Ministerial Directive by the Government to improve the air quality on the A127 as quickly as possible.
What are we doing?
To tackle this issue, Essex County Council and Basildon Borough Council are improving air quality along the A127, to the north of Basildon, by reducing the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph. The new speed limit came into force when sign replacement and camera installation works started in January 2020.
The new 50mph limit is in place on both carriageways between the existing 40mph speed limit near the Fortune of War roundabout and approximately 470m east of the Pound Lane (westbound)/Cranfield Park Road (eastbound) junctions. It will be enforced by average speed cameras.
Air quality and traffic modelling indicate that the reduction in speed limit will reduce nitrogen dioxide to safe levels by 2021.
There is also statistically significant evidence that the reduced speed limit with average speed enforcement is likely to result in a reduction in personal injury collisions on this stretch of the A127. If the effects on the existing 50mph section of the A127 can be attributed to the camera system and speed limit, a reduction of about ten slight-injury collisions and five KSI (killed or seriously injured) collisions is expected each year.
The Government has also instructed us to carry out further analysis to establish what measures would be needed to bring air quality on Upper Mayne and East Mayne to legal levels in the shortest possible time. This work is ongoing.
These are our plans for South Essex. For information regarding other areas of Essex, please visit www.essexair.org.