The financial Times reported on Saturday 16/02/2013, that proposals to increase the motorway speed limit to 80 mph are likely to be parked on the hard shoulder for the foreseeable future.
The proposal was first put forward by the then Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond, in 2011; as he believed that the change would generate “.. economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds.” The next incumbent at the Department, Justine Greening, didn’t interfere with the proposed policy change but the man who has followed her, the new transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, is apparently against the idea:he is amongst friends.
A senior person at the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister, has asserted that any increase would lead to more innjuries on the motorway network and greater carbon emissions. He believes that “.. Ministers need to decide if these are prices worth paying for faster journey times, especially against the backdrop of a rise in the annual number of road deaths.” ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) wanted to see pilot schemes on selected roads for up to two years before approving the scheme and “Brake” (the self appointed road safety organisation) warned that the policy would lead to more death and injury; though on what evidence they based this claim was not clear.
Even some motoring enthusiaists have not been in favour. Quentin Wilson, former TOP GEAR presenter, recently told a panel of MP’s that “.. any benefits to society about us all [sic] getting to work earlier because it is going to make us go faster is complete moonshine.” However, none of this is deterring the civil servants at the Transport Department, who insist they will be going ahead with trials later this year. We will see!
So there you have it. Just remember when you’re next driving on a deserted M40/M1/M6 or wherever, at 3.00 o’clock on a Sunday morning not to let your speedometer drift over the 70 mph limit. After all if you do then you are endangering other road users and helping to destroy the enviroment! Perhaps transport policy might be in better shape in the UK if they didn’t change the man or woman at the top every 5 minutes!