Rise of electric cars could see motorway speed limit raised to 80mph

Issue should be revisited as earlier pollution concerns may not be as relevant, Transport Secretary says

Rise of electric cars could see motorway speed limit raised to 80mph
Image: Bigstock.

The speed limit on British motorways could be raised to 80mph, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps said that “there is an argument” for raising the speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

He said that concerns over the extra pollution that would accompany increased speeds had previously halted discussions on the matter but, with the rising number of vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions, the matter should now be revisited.

Related: Roadside recovery training for smart motorways launched by Highways England

Speaking at a transport debate during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Mr Shapps said: “On 80mph speed limits, I’ve been thinking about this issue and maybe even sought advice on the subject of late.

“I think there is an argument for looking at our speed limits, both in terms of higher speed limits and actually lower limits – 20mph outside of schools.

“When it was last looked at in 2011, it was thought the carbon emission addition would be too great.

“But since I am a driver of an electric car myself I got to thinking about whether that would still be the case.

“I think there is an argument that once you have increased the level of electrification and therefore decreased or entirely removed carbon, that you might look at those things again.”

Related: Breakdowns 216% more dangerous on smart motorways, Highways England data shows

Figures from the SMMT show a 71 per cent year-on-year increase in EV registrations.

However, they still account for just one per cent of all new vehicles registered in the UK.

Petrol vehicles, which produce higher levels of CO2 than equivalent diesels, account for 66 per cent of all registrations.

“An issue of safety”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Any move to raise speed limits on motorways to 80mph is fundamentally an issue of safety.

“Part of the problem is that at present, there is a high proportion of drivers that break the 70mph limit, and drive nearer to 80mph.

“If the speed limit were to be changed to 80mph, there is a risk that the new default becomes even higher.

“Our motorways are currently the safest roads on the entire network, and we wouldn’t want to see anything happen that changes this.

“So unless there is compelling evidence that a change in the limit on some stretches of road would not adversely affect safety, the current limit should be retained.”

“A step in the wrong direction”

A spokesperson for road safety charity, Brake said: “Given that speed is a critical factor in the severity of collisions, any move to increase the limit is a step in the wrong direction.

“Stopping distances at 80mph are over 120m – the equivalent of 30 car lengths and six car lengths more than at 70mph.

“Strict enforcement of the current speed limit and investment in on our high-speed road network with safety as the priority should be the focus, not an increase in speed.”

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Home Page Forums Rise of electric cars could see motorway speed limit raised to 80mph

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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  • #186234 Reply
    graham cox
    Guest

    its not the speed that’s the issue
    its the drivers not thinking/acting on the road conditions and levels of traffic

    #186252 Reply
    Steve
    Guest

    Perhaps the UK should adopt a similar policy to other countries. Having driven in parts of France at least once or twice a year for many years, if I recall correctly they have motorway speed limits of 135km/h (around 85mph) in dry conditions , reduced to 110km/h (around 70mph) is wet condition. These are considered a maximum speed and are heavily enforced in many areas with stricter rules and higher fines compared to UK.

    Most of us are well aware that if you observe the 70mph speed limit on our motorways you will get overtaken by almost every type of vehicle.

    #186437 Reply
    dougal
    Guest

    Perhaps we should replace MPs with elected scientists and engineers, then we might get some sense !

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

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