Drive along the M62 near Junction 18 at Simister, and you might spot some new wooden barriers, supported by steel piles.

At four metres in height – and with the potential to increase this to six metres – and 100 metres in length, it’s hard to miss the two barriers, which occupy offset positions on either side of the motorway.

They are part of a pilot scheme aimed at discovering whether a physical barrier of this type can improve air quality on the side where there is no traffic releasing exhaust emissions.

Jacqui Allen, senior project manager at the Highways Agency, said: “This pilot will provide us with more evidence as to whether these barriers can be effective, and is just one part of our research to find new ways of dispersing harmful emissions.”

The wooden barriers, supported by steel piles, are due to remain in place for a year while air quality is measured at a distance of up to 200 metres behind them.

After that time, it should be clear whether they are beneficial or not – and whether steel piling to support similar ’emissions barriers’ will become commonplace in future road construction.

environmental barriers