Debate: Should the motorway speed limit be increased to 80mph?

UK: The government is to begin a consultation on raising the speed limit on Britain’s motorways from 70mph to 80mph, it was announced.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the current limit was “out of date” and a higher one would bring economic benefits.

It is understood the consultation will be launched later this year with a view to introducing the new limit in 2013.

Mr Hammond said yesterday: “Now it is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology.

“Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times. So we will consult later this year on raising the limit to get Britain moving.”

However, Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would not help the economy and would increase costs for drivers.

“It would also add to pollution and increase road casualties. Responsible motorists know that driving steadily at or below 70mph is most fuel-efficient, reduces jams and is safer.”

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The current national limit was set in 1965.

- What do you think? Should the speed limit be increased? Post your comments below.