THE 30MPH speed limit along part of the A35 which was introduced as a temporary measure in a bid to reduce traffic pollution is set to be made permanent.

The speed limit on Chideock Hill was temporarily changed from 40ph to 30mph for an initial 18-month trial period trial period in September 2019.

The 30mph has been in place from Ruins Lane through to Muddyford Lane.

The change was implemented by Highways England as part of an initiative to improve air quality on and alongside the road network and has now been made permanent.

Chideock Hill was found to have the worst air pollution in the England in a study carried out by Friends of the Earth last year.

Andy Roberts, Highways England route manager for the A35, said: “We have a responsibility to tackle pollution caused by vehicles using our network and we’re working in partnership with Dorset Council to improve air quality in Chideock.

“As part of our ongoing work, we undertook and completed a trial which saw additional diffusion tubes installed and an electric-powered van monitoring real-time pollution before and after the speed limit change.

“This identified a small reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels following the reduction of the speed limit and as a result of the localised air quality benefit, we propose to make the extended 30mph zone a permanent fixture.

“We have also funded and delivered an electric vehicle charging point in the village, and although the air quality challenge will ultimately be solved at the tailpipe by vehicle manufacturers and changes in vehicle use, we will continue to work with Dorset Council and monitor air quality.”

Chideock has been identified as an Air Quality Management Area by Dorset Council, and Highways England have been working closely with the council to take measures to improve air quality in the village.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “I’m pleased to hear that the speed trial in Chideock has gone towards helping improve the air quality in the village, and the 30mph speed limit is in the process of being made permanent.

“Due to the challenging topography of the village, the solution to improving air quality on this strategic route depends largely on wide-spread adoption of clean technology and other changes to travel habits.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work with our partners at Highways England to monitor emissions in the area and continue to seek ways to further improve air quality for residents.”