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Périphérique speed limit cut

Drivers reduced to 70kph in a bid to cut air and noise pollution on Paris expressway

SPEED limits on the Paris Périphérique were cut to 70kph today in a bid to cut air and noise pollution. The move has seen city officials changing 150 signs along the 35km urban expressway over the past few nights.

Each day 1.3million vehicles use the Périphérique and the move could cut air pollutants by 5% for both drivers and those living beside the road. Airparif, the pollution monitoring body for the capital, said that last year its measuring station at Porte d'Auteuil had registered pollution over European limits on 117 days.

Airparif engineer Karine Léger told Le Parisien that the move was a “step in the right direction” as vehicles emitted less pollution at speeds between 40 and 70kph.

Environment agency Ademe has said that it will monitor the situation as it was hoped that reducing vehicle speeds would allow better traffic flow and improve air quality. However, it said there would be no real change as long as older, heavier polluting vehicles were still allowed on the roads.

Drivers’ group 40 Millions d'Automobilistes has attacked the move and said the only way to beat pollution was the progressive renewal of older vehicles.

The Mairie de Paris says that the new speed limit will cut noise pollution by 1.7 decibels for light cars and 1.2db for lorries and this was the equivalent of cutting traffic on the Périphérique by 15-20%. Residents’ associations near the road have called for the speed limit to be cut further, to 50kph.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who is challenging to be new mayor of Paris in the upcoming municipal elections, said that if elected she would reintroduce the 80kph limit. She said it did nothing for pollution and added that the average speed on the Périphérique was just 37kph. She would also ban lorries and coaches that did not meet the Euro pollution limits.

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