Could National Speed Limit Rise To 80mph?

Thu 3rd Oct 2019

The introduction of electric cars could see a rise in the national speed limit according to the Government’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

Concerns over the extra pollution which faster cars would bring have previously hindered any discussions over raising the speed limit, while there will be additional safety concerns associated with going 10 miles per hour faster than the current limit.

The 70mph limit has been in effect since 1965, but has constantly been debated in recent years with safer and faster cars now prevalent on the motorway network. A recent survey suggested that more than half of drivers are regularly breaking the 70mph speed limit and in 2011 it was to raise the speed limit to 80mph, but then transport secretary Philip Hammond abandoned the plans after independent research found that the increase could lead to an additional 2.2 million tons of CO2 per year.

But speaking at a transport debate at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, Grant Shapps has put forward the possibility of lowering the speed limit to 20mph in many more areas, whilst at the same time raising it to 80mph.

"On 80mph speed limits: I've been thinking about this issue and maybe even sought advice on the subject of late,” Shapps said.
“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, reviewing the last submission to ministers on the subject, 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."