As if things weren’t bad enough for the hard-pressed motorist already, Highways England have announced that nine sections of Motorways in England will have their speed limit reduced in an effort to bring down the NOx concentrations.

Now I have a suspicion that quite a large portion of drivers will have absolutely no idea what NOx is, so with the help of Wikidodah I have managed to copy and paste some gobbledegook which I’m sure you will find most enlightening, or not as the case may be.

NOx is the chemical name for Nitrous Oxide which is a gas which is produced during combustion of fuels such as hydrocarbons, especially at high temperatures such as in car engines, although I don’t think we had this problem until we did away with leaded petrol.

Now I was a little confused as it seemed to imply NOx gasses are produced naturally by lightning although there was no explanation as to how.

It further stated that NOx is chemistry shorthand for molecules containing one nitrogen and one or more oxygen atom and is generally meant to include nitrous oxide which is a fairly inert oxide of nitrogen and is used as a propellant for aerosol sprays and whipped cream and can have a significant impact on the ozone layer and is a significant greenhouse gas. 

The roads that will be affected are the A1, A38, M1, M4, M5, M6, M32, M602 and the M621, most of which will see the limit reduced to 60 mph although even worse a section of the M32 will be further reduced to 40 mph, this will be a trial period with no end date.

For those of you with a long memory you may remember the last time we had a trial speed limit in December 1965 for a 70 mph speed limit which was supposed to last four months but was later made permanent in 1967 and is sadly still with us and largely flouted.

Should you have an even longer memory and be exceptionally old you will know that the speed limit in 1903 was 20 mph but was being openly flouted and by 1930 speed limits were done away with altogether, however in 1935 a 30 mph speed limit was introduced for built up areas.

Moving swiftly on some 86 years and the motor car has progressed quite considerably with better tyres, anti-lock brake and all sorts of clever gismos and we are still at the same speed limit which seems a little odd as I can tell you from experience of owning a 1935 Austin Seven that the brakes were absolutely abysmal compared to modern cars, one might have thought we could have progressed to a slightly higher limit.

We seem to be going backwards and I have a nasty feeling that as in 1965 it won’t be long before this new speed limit becomes permanent, although one has to ask oneself, as this limit is being introduced on the grounds of stopping pollution will it be put up again when we are all forced to drive electric cars which do not omit NOx and only pollute dramatically during their manufacture and their obsolescence when they are scrapped.

A certain section of motorists will face a double whammy, bad enough the speed limit but if the Government wish to abolish all NOx gasses, I assume this will include the propellant for aerosols, which leaves them driving very slowly to The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, otherwise known as Wimbledon only to find there is no cream for the strawberries when they eventually get there.

40 mph speed limit sign - DOT 670

About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work due to losing my agent when I became a full time carer to my mother who had dementia. and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother and shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse. I have written a number of different books all available on Amazon, so don't be shy should you feel the urge to purchase.
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  1. What a pain in the arse

    • When I was young you could enjoy driving, now you have to watch for speed cameras, average speed cameras, Policemen with speed laser guns, keep a constant eye on your speedometer to check you’re not speeding. On the other hand the roads down South and in London are continually blocked with traffic and you have to pay the Congestion Charge for the privilege of driving there and when you arrive there is nowhere to park and the standard of driving nowadays is not what it used to be. When I started driving in the 60’s people who drove did so because they loved or enjoyed it and got pleasure from being a good driver, now everyone wants to drive even the ones who are useless at it. A very long answer to your comment but I think you summed it up better, as you say driving now is becoming a bit of a pain in the arse!

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