Work begins on A494 ahead of pollution reducing 50mph speed cut
A series of lane and slip road closures are scheduled to take place on the A494 over the next week as installation of emissions-reducing measures, including a speed limit cut – take place.
A 50mph speed limit reduction will come into force along the A494 both East and Westbound where the national speed limit is currently set.
According to the Welsh Government, the speed limit change will come into force sometime in the next week.
The new signage will also promote ‘smooth traffic flow’ in a bid to reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide along the A494 where emissions have been found to exceed legal limits.
Work will take place over six nights between 8pm and 6am up to the June 22 in both directions between A55 J34 Ewloe and A494 Deeside Park.
[The 50mph restriction will apply from the B5125 St David’s Interchange (Holywell Road) to the A458 Deeside Park Interchange (Shotwick Road) at the Welsh/English border.]
Poor air quality contributes to an estimated 2,000 deaths per year in Wales, with exposure affecting vulnerable population groups in particular.
Gases such as nitrogen dioxide can increase the symptoms of people with lung diseases, while short-term exposure is associated with increased cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity
A high level of air pollution in Flintshire comes from vehicles using the A494 and A55 trunk roads linking England to the rest of North Wales.
A screenshot of Defra’s UK Ambient Air Quality Interactive Map shows the high levels of nitrogen dioxide, illustrated by the red and pink line as measured along the A494.
All Councils have a legal obligation to monitor and assess the air quality of their County, as directed by Part IV of the Environment Act 1995.
EU legalisation establishes health-based standards for a number of pollutants present in the air, it states that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels should not exceed 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter air) over a 12 month period.
Data published by a Welsh Government shows in 2016, over a four-month – nitrogen dioxide concentration levels along the A494 at Aston Hill reached 51.6 µg/m3.
The speed reduction measures aims to deliver improvements to air quality at key locations with 50mph speed limits expected to reduce emissions by up to 18%.
The government says evidence shows nitrogen dioxide emissions are at their lowest when light vehicles, the main contributors to emissions, travel at speeds between 40 and 50 mph.
The speed limits are also expected to have a smoothing effect, with vehicles travelling at more constant speeds.
The temporary speed restrictions are part of a range of actions being introduced by the Welsh Government to improve air quality in Wales, including a new £20m Air Quality Fund, a Clean Air Zone Framework and a new Air Quality website providing local data on air pollution levels.
Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn said:
“I am committed to taking action to reduce air pollution in Wales to support a healthier future for our communities and protect our natural environment. Current levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the legal limit at the five road locations, so we need to act as soon as possible.
“We have been carrying out investigations into all potential measures for reducing nitrogen dioxide levels. Our initial studies tell us that 50 mph speed limits should have the greatest potential to improve air quality at each location. The actions we take to improve air quality in Wales have a key role in supporting the right conditions for better health and well-being.”
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