Motorway speed limit rising to 80mph

Government planning on increasing motorway speed limits by 10mph in a bid to improve British economy

AN increase of motorway speed limits has been proposed with a rise to 80mph in a bid to boost Britain's economy by reducing journey times.

The 10mph increase is set to go under consultation later this year with a view to introducing the new limit in 2013.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said last Thursday that the current limit was 'out of date', the 70mph speed was introduced in 1965.

"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back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology," Hammond said.

"Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times. So we will consult later this year on raising the limit to get Britain moving." The transport Secretary added that the current speed limit is almost redundent as 50 per cent of motorists routinely break the law by driving at 80mph, adding that the current law is being undermined and 'it's the law that needs looking at'.

The move has come under criticism from lobbying groups for road safety and environmental campaigners.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, believed that the change would increase costs for motorists, add to pollution and increase road casualties. He added: "Responsible motorists know that driving steadily at or below 70mph is more fuel efficient, reduces jams and is safer."

Green Party spokesperson Jenny Jones called the proposal a 'mad idea' adding that putting the speed limit up will be worse for both fuel economy and emissions.

Environmental campaigners have claimed that cars driven at 80mph will produce up to 25 per cent more carbon dioxide emissions that at the current limit, although not revealing the vehicle that the study was conducted on, it's clear this is a worst case scenario.

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