Government to press ahead with 80mph speed limit

Government to press ahead with 80mph speed limit

The Government is to start trials of the proposed 80mph national speed limit, road safety minister Stephen Hammond has confirmed.

Three sites have already been chosen to test out the raised limit, and if successful it could be introduced nationwide.
The announcement comes nearly two years after the Government first tabled the proposed changes back in 2011, but speaking to Auto Express magazine, Mr Hammond stated that the plans were very much ready to go.

"It is not dead. We are thinking about it. We are thinking about how we could trial it rather than go to a consultation," he said.

"It would be important to have a good evidence-based trial."

Mr Hammond went on to confirm that the speed trials could take place during 2014.

"You probably will not see it happen before the summer of next year. It might need a whole year to put the whole regulatory format in place," he explained.

"My message, though, is that it [80mph] has not been lost. Our philosophy is that we should have the right speed on the right road."

He continued: "Drivers will have noticed that we have made some significant changes to guidelines to local authorities about lower speeds in rural areas.

"We have also made it easier to introduce 20mph limits and zones."

This is despite the proposed 80mph limit falling down the Department for Transport's list of priorities under transport secretary Patrick McLoughin, who has been less supportive towards the plans.

Road safety charity Brake also opposes the raise, arguing that it would lead to increased road fatalities.

However, supporters of the raised limit are quick to point out that the current limit is antiquated, being introduced in 1964, when 70mph was beyond the reach of many cars on the road.

AA president Edmund King said: "Our view is that 80mph in a modern car, in good weather, driven at a safe distance from the car in front is a safe speed"

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