80km/h limits introduced to tackle environmental threats

The Dutch transport ministry has reduced the speed limit on four stretches of motorway, covering 15 kilometres in total, in an effort to improve air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, noise levels and traffic flow.

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The limit on the four roads has gone down this month from 100 to 80 km/h. A fifth stretch has seen the limit reduced from 120 to 100 km/h.

Research into 80 km/h zones published in June 2003 calculated that NOx emissions went down by 15-25%, and PM10 emissions by 25-35%.

Meanwhile the transport minister in the Belgian region of Flanders, Kathleen van Brempt, is calling for an 80 km/h limit for commercial vehicles. The Flemish Institute of Technical Research says this will reduce CO2 emissions by around 15%.

• The Dutch government has also announced plans to pay selected car owners between €2 and €5 to leave their cars at home during the morning rush hour. Two trials will take place next year – one in Amsterdam, the other on the A12 motorway between Zoetermeer and The Hague – aimed at seeing if offering rewards can cut the number of people using a car during peak periods.

This news story is taken from the November 2005 edition of T&E Bulletin.