Derbyshire Dales MP and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended Government Highways Agency plans to introduce a 60mph zone along the M1 motorway in north and mid Derbyshire.
Motorists and businesses raised fears the plan could slow down traffic and affect trade after the Highways Agency announced a 60mph speed limit between 7am and 7pm with an extra lane from Junction 28 to Junction 35a to reduce congestion, vehicle emissions and pollution.
Mr McLoughlin said: “The reality is we’re upgrading this busy stretch of road to give it an additional lane. That won’t slow people down - it will mean freer-flowing traffic and quicker journeys. Variable speed limits have existed for years and it is important to remember it doesn’t matter what the speed limit is if you are stuck in heavy traffic.”
Derbyshire chamber of commerce raised concerns reducing the limit could impact on journey times for businesses, hauliers, distributors, public transport, and commuters.
Manager of Destination Chesterfield marketing group Dominic Stevens said Chesterfield’s attractions are its central location and excellent links to road and rail networks and the Peak District.
He urged the Highways Agency to balance environmental and traffic flow against impacts on the economy and residents.
Managing director of United Cast Bar in Chesterfield James Brand is also concerned restrictions will affect journey times and business and hopes the motorway is kept moving and clear.
Construction is expected in spring 2014. The region’s councils expressed an interest in an on-going consultation.
Call the Highways Agency on 0300 123 5000, visit www.highways.gov.uk, enter consultation in the search and click on the GOV.UK link to www.gov.uk to find the ‘M1 junctions 28 to 35a: maximum mandatory speed limit’.