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Highway speed limit to rise to 80 mph in the UK
Motorway speed limits could rise to 80 mph to shorten journey times and boost the economy under a radical review of road safety, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond signaled today.

He is concerned that anti-car campaigners have for too long used 'road safety' as a convenient excuse to both stymie raising speed the limit on motorways from the current 70mph, and to push for more 20mph zones in urban areas - even when they are inappropriate.

Britain has some of the safest roads in Europe, and within that motorways are by far the safest.

In future, Mr. Hammond will demand that safety alone cannot be the sole determining factor when changing limits and that a thorough cost-benefit analysis which takes into account the economic impact must also be carried out when deciding such matters.

There are also likely to be more variable speed limits on motorways which reduce when traffic is congested, but can rise when roads are empty.

The UK speed limit is lower than much of Continental Europe, and far below speeds on German Autobahns which are unrestricted.

The latest push for an 80mph limit comes nearly 50 years after the Government imposed an 'experimental' 70mph speed limit on Britain's first motorway - the M1 - following a spate of unofficial road racing and accidents on what was originally an unrestricted road.

Supporters of raising the speed limit point out that when the 70mph limit was introduced in 1964, it was set at the flat-out speed of most cars which, compared to the advanced engineering of today, were pretty basic by comparison. Daily Mail

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