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Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

Category: Politics

Published: 29th Sep 2011 17:58:44

The Department of Transport is to launch a consultation on increasing the speed limit on Britain's motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the current limit, introduced in 1965, was out of date due to "huge advances in safety and motoring technology".

The consultation begins this year with a view to raising the limit in 2013.

The Department for Transport says as many as 49% of drivers flout the current 70mph limit.

It says advances in technology have made cars much safer, contributing to a drop of more than 75% in the number of people killed on British roads since the 70mph limit was introduced.

As a result, it says it is time to look again at whether the current limit is "still appropriate".

Mr Hammond said Britain's roads "should be the arteries of a healthy economy".

What about enforcement? If police follow existing guidelines, many people could do 90mph before action is taken”

He added: "Now it is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology.

"Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times."

The government says road safety remains a priority, and says it is taking action to tackle uninsured drivers and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

BBC political correspondent Vicki Young said there had been some concerns within the cabinet about the change - Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is said to be concerned about road safety and and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was worried about the pollution impact.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "There are good reasons for making 80 the new 70, and good reasons not to. Drivers travelling that 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner but will use about 20% more fuel and emit 20% more CO2.

"There is also likely to be a slight increase in road casualties. And what about enforcement? If police follow existing guidelines, many people could do 90mph before action is taken."

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BBC News, 2011. Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit [Online] (Updated 29th Sep 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/189988/Ministers-to-consult-on-80mph-motorway-speed-limit [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

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