'Pollution Absorbing' Tunnels Could Be Built Around UK Motorways To Improve Air Quality

The suggestion was made in Highways England's new air quality strategy report
The latest proposals follow a number of vehicle-related ideas to cut pollution

Highways England has revealed its latest proposal to deal with pollution levels - covering large stretches of motorway with 'pollution tunnels' to protect locals.

The suggestion was published in the organization's latest air quality strategy.

According to the study: "Thanks to concerted efforts over recent decades there has been an improvement in air quality across the United Kingdom. 

"A tightening of vehicle emission standards has helped further reduce the emissions from vehicles travelling on our network and the government is working hard to ensure that vehicles meet their emission standards to deliver greater benefits."

'Canopy'

But more still has to be done - and this is where the tunnel suggestion comes in to play.

Highways England says it is 'investigating if we can reduce the costs to construct a canopy, which is a tunnel-like structure designed to prevent vehicle emissions reaching our neighbours'.

The study talks about a previous trial undertaken by the agency, saying: "In 2015 we started trialling an air quality barrier on the M62. This was a 100 metre long barrier initially 4 metres high and raised to 6 metres in early 2016. 

"We then progressed to carry out a trial of a barrier incorporating an innovative material with potential to clean the air. 

"We are using these trials to investigate if barriers can help contribute to improving air quality for our neighbours. 

"The results from the monitoring of such trials will help us understand if this has been a success with the potential to implement barriers on our network." 

Strategy

As air pollution is linked to a staggaring 40,000 premature deaths a year, the Government is trying to tackle the issue.

It has given Highways England £100 million to improve air quality by 2021. The details of how this will be achieved is set out in the air quality strategy.

Other suggestions to deal with the problem include increasing the number of charging points for electric cars - with the aim of having points every 20 miles on a massive 95 per cent of the road network, as well as implementing a new tax on diesel vehicles.

Last month, the Government released a plan to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2020.

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Maria is a former magazine editor and newspaper reporter. She has specialized in writing content for the plant-based sector for several years, as well as reporting on agriculture, politics and regional news. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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