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.