Following the traffic emissions scandal, is pollution higher than expected and could more 20mph limits be the solution...?

Lower speed limits could be the solution to high pollution levels in North Devon in the wake of the car emissions scandal.

Barnstaple County Councillor Brian Greenslade is calling on the county to consider 20mph speed limits in areas such as Braunton where air pollution could be even higher than feared.

In a letter to DCC leader John Hart he said diesel emission levels could be greater than anyone thought and it has been suggested reducing limits could cut harmful emissions by a third.

Mr Greenslade said he had also written to North Devon Council asking what it might do to help and added: “Others will tackle the rigging of emission tests results but we in local government should not wait for the outcome of this before acting.

“With what appears to be so many vehicles on the road which do not conform to emission standards time is not on our side we must act now.”

Tests have shown nitrogen dioxide levels in Braunton are 22 per cent higher than they should be and NDC has already put together an action plan of 14 proposals to reduce the effects.

Parish Council chairman Derrick Spear said he welcomed Mr Greenslade’s ideas but they needed to look at the wider picture: “Although slowing down the traffic helps – providing it is continuously moving – the biggest problem is stationary vehicles spewing out the dangerous emissions,” he said.

“One of the most important implementations should be a comprehensive one way system around the village and/or the pedestrianisation of Caen Street. Reviewing all pedestrian movements at the crossings and lights in particular, around the village to maximise traffic flow is also very important.”