I still back 80mph on motorways – MP Mike

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Hemel Hempstead’s MP and former transport minister Mike Penning remains solidly behind plans to raise the motorway speed limit despite reports that the proposal is to be dropped.

Road safety campaigners at Brake say they welcome news that transport Sescretary Patrick McLoughlin will cancel proposals for a new 80mph motorway top speed.

But the Department for Transport says trials of the new speed limit will go ahead.

Mr Penning, a former firefighter, said he ‘would not even have bought the issue forward’ if it meant an increase in road casualties – but stressed that the policy now rests in the hands of his successors.

Mr Penning supports raising the speed limit on some motorways by 10mph because ‘most people know you are not likely to be prosecuted for driving at 80mph’.

Brake is part of the NO To 80 coalition, which opposes government proposals to increase speed limits.

They argue that it will result in more violent deaths and injuries, increased carbon emissions and an increased financial burden on the public, the NHS and emergency services. Instead Brake is urging the government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with a top speed of 70mph.

Brake senior campaigns officer Ellen Booth said: “The evidence is there that 80mph limits would mean more violent deaths and injuries, so even a trial could lead to more families suffering the horror of a serious crash. Going ahead with trials would be a waste of money, given the weight of evidence that 80mph motorways would not deliver the benefits the previous transport secretary expected, and would instead mean increased casualties, costs and carbon emissions.

“Instead we would like to see government invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with the maximum remaining at 70mph, as this a proven way to reduce casualties while improving traffic flow.”

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