Row over South Yorkshire M1 60mph plan

Traffic on the M1 in South Yorkshire
Traffic on the M1 in South Yorkshire
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A political row has broken out over Sheffield Council’s stance on reducing speed limits on the M1.

The Green Party has claimed controlling group Labour is ‘split’ on the issue.

It comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed the council had written to the Government to say it was concerned about the ‘economic impact’ of a potential 60mph limit – despite previous indications it would support lower limits to help reduce air pollution.

But Labour has said the council has adopted a ‘consistent’ position on the issue, with it in favour of lower limit at some times of the day but not wanting a blanket 70mph ban.

The row comes after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said last month the 70mph limit will remain under the current Government after the Highways Agency carried out public consultation on the idea.

The Green Party has said it will be asking questions about the council’s official stance at the next full council meeting on September 3.

Green Coun Brian Webster said: “We want to know who is responsible for the change of policy which occurred despite a cabinet report and public statements from local politicians supporting the 60mph limit.”

But a Labour party spokesman said its policy was consistent, as it does not want a blanket 60mph limit but does wish to see lower speeds imposed some of the time to help tackle air pollution.

He said: “To suggest that this means we are opposed to taking action on this issue is clearly not correct.

“Unfortunately the Green Party are attempting to use this issue as a political football, which is very unfortunate given the shared agreement about the need to take action on this issue and the positive work that is going on in the city to tackle air quality.”