The UK government will press ahead with trials of 80mph speed limits on some sections of motorways where variable speed limits are already in place. Transport Secretary Justine Greening will begin talks with motoring groups in the next few weeks. She will then order pilot schemes on wider motorway sections with overhead display gantries, such as the M25.
This would allow agencies to lower the limit in bad weather or heavy traffic. It will be introduced first on sections where the infrastructure to manage speed limits already exists. Consultations with various groups will begin shortly about the best way to move forward. But a higher limit will only be introduced where it is safe.
The step up to 80mph was proposed by former transport supremo Philip Hammond before he became Defence Secretary in October. He said the current 70mph limit was “out of date” and routinely broken by half of motorists. The AA says two-thirds of members back an 80mph limit. And experts predict quicker journey times will benefit the country by hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
The new speed ceiling will apply to cars and vans on motorways, but the current 60mph restriction for lorries will stay.