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Motorways in the UK may be covered with 'tunnels'

Large 'tunnels' covering stretches of motorway to protect locals from dangerous levels of pollution are being considered by Highways England.

The agency said in its latest air quality strategy that it is exploring the possibility of building physical canopies around main roads to soak up car fumes.

It is working on trials using a material that can absorb nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which can cause lung disease and is produced by diesel engines.

In its report, 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'.

Large 'tunnels' covering stretches of motorway to protect locals from dangerous levels of pollution are being considered by Highways England. The agency said that it is exploring the possibility of building physical canopies around main roads to soak up car fumes

Large 'tunnels' covering stretches of motorway to protect locals from dangerous levels of pollution are being considered by Highways England. The agency said that it is exploring the possibility of building physical canopies around main roads to soak up car fumes

HOW WOULD THE TUNNELS WORK? 

Highways Agency officials are looking at a Dutch scheme in which cantilevered canopies are built over the most polluted sections of motorways. 

This, they say, will prevent local residents breathing in polluted car fumes.

After trialling a similar physical barrier to pollution in 2015, the agency said it is now running tests on a material to be used in the tunnels can clean the air.

So far, they have they have also trialled two different types of barriers. 

The first, with wood panels 4 metres and 6 metres high, was fitted to the M62 near junction 18 in Manchester.

A second trial, which is ongoing, features a 3 metre high fence coated in a mineral polymer material capable of absorbing nitrogen dioxide.  

Highways Agency officials are looking at a Dutch scheme in which cantilevered canopies are built over the most polluted sections of motorways. 

After trialling a similar wood barrier to pollution in 2015, which initially stood at four metres high and stretched 100 metres down the M62, the agency said it is now running tests on a material that can clean the air.

In the first trial wood panels 4 metres and 6 metres high were fitted to the M62 near junction 18 in Manchester.

The

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