Government abandons 80mph motorway plans

12.00 | 24 June 2013 | | 3 comments

The Government has confirmed it has abandoned plans to introduce a new 80mph speed limit on Britain’s motorways (Telegraph).

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, voiced reservations about implementing the 80mph proposal he inherited when he took over the role last year. He has now indicated that the plans have effectively been dropped, saying that a change to the speed limit is "not a priority".

The Telegraph reports that one of the reasons for the Government’s decision is that it feared a backlash from female voters. A survey of 13,000 drivers for the AA found that 73% of men favour the change; while 53% of women are in favour, a sizeable minority (41%) think the limit should remain at 70mph.

Philip Hammond, the former transport secretary who advocated the move to a higher speed limit, said it would benefit the economy by hundreds of million pounds due to faster journey times.

And as part of the Government’s commitment to "end the war on motorists", Mike Penning, the former road safety minister, announced last May that he would set up trials of the 80mph limit on parts of the motorway network.

His successor, Stephen Hammond, told a motoring forum only last week that the 80mph limit was still under consideration.

However, talking to The Times, Patrick McLoughlin made it clear that the plans had been dropped, saying: "That’s not a priority, to be absolutely honest. You would have to do trials in certain areas so it’s not something that’s a high priority."

The Telegraph reports that a source close to the transport secretary said: "This is not going to happen with Patrick McLoughlin as transport secretary. Safety is paramount to him and his view of how to run the roads and he would not be confident about how you would do it."

Fay Goodman, DriveSafe founder, said: “Women drivers are quite right to voice their concerns over increased speed limits as all the evidence shows that this leads to a rise in deaths and serious accidents. 

“We are delighted that the Government has dropped their plans at a time when local authorities are pressing ahead with much-needed 20mph zones.” 

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    It would to my mind make an improved motorway driving experience and be a lot safer environment by limiting the slower moving HGVs to a single inside lane and in the event of opening up the verge using that plus the inside lane also.

    This will allow the numerically majority of travellers to continue in an uninterrupted manner and cause less tailbacks, thus reducing the need to make up stalled time and use excessive speed.

    bob craven Lancs
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    Most drivers see the 70 limit as giving them the right to drive at 80 plus so an 80 limit would suggest to some that 100 would be fine. So many drivers do not understand speed and its consequences, so it’s good to have Minister who is making safety a priority. This will save lives, and, save this country millions in lost, time, hospital costs and fuel savings. All we need now is more Traffic Police to enforce it!

    Jim Angus, West Midlands
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    Good to see we have a transport secretary for whom ‘safety is paramount’. Will we see a ‘Vision Zero’ for the UK under his tenure?

    Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire
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