SPEED cameras and a 50mph limit could be imposed on further stretches of the A127 in an effort to tackle air pollution.

Details of the proposal emerged in a council report ahead of a meeting next week.

It is recommended the speed limit between the Fortune of War Junction and the A127 Pound Lane Junction is reduced from 70mph to 50mph after the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) told the council that air quality needs to be improved as soon as possible.

The new limit would be enforced by average speed cameras and is estimated to come at a cost of £1.2million, funded through a Government grant from the Joint Air Quality Unit.

There are also plans for a “clean air zone” which could cost £14million.

This would see businesses within the zone provided with grants to encourage them to use cleaner vehicles, better infrastructure for electric vehicles, improved bus infrastructure and a marketing campaign to show the benefits of “cleaner choices”.

However motorists claimed the volume of traffic is the problem.

Andy Wilks said: “The speed we have to go at rush hour is what needs to be sorted out.

“Thousands of cars doing five miles per hour must cause more pollution than thousands of cars doing 65 miles per hour.

Katie Smith said: “It’ll be quicker to walk everywhere at this rate. Blimey.”

And Colin Crisp added: “Everything slowing down and the accelerating again at the non roundabout Fortune of War really helps doesn’t it, oh, hang on, they make money from the two cash generators don’t they.”

And Julie Draper said: “That’ll be a lot of speeding fines given out when it happens, most people will either forget its changed or not notice, just like when they did the other section from Rayleigh to Basildon.”

The council will also review its taxi licensing policies to encourage companies to use a “cleaner fleet”.

The council also has the option to introduce a vehicle charge in this zone – similar to London’s congestion charge – but the report notes that this is not something they should do as it could not be introduced until 2022.

A discussion of these measures will take place on Tuesday, May 14, and council officers have recommended that members of the committee approve the speed limit reduction and the clean air zone.

If they fail to do so,  officers have warned it “will result in further delays to the project timeline and increase the potential for legal challenge from Government”.

The Government has set levels for air quality which local authorities are expected to meet in south Essex.