The raising of the motorway limit to 80mph is still on the Government’s agenda, transport minister Stephen Hammond has confirmed.
In an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Hammond said there would be a major announcement later this year on the prospect of an increase.
The move was strongly backed by former Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, but has fallen down the Department for Transport’s list of priorities under current Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
But Stephen Hammond told Auto Express: “It is not dead. We are thinking about it; we are thinking about how we could trial it rather than go to a consultation.
“I think it would be important to have a good evidence-based trial. We are still working on that and I suspect that we are going to be able to say something on that in the autumn.”
According to Hammond, this could mean trials taking place during 2014.
He continued: “If we are realistic, you probably will not see it happen before the summer of next year. It might need a whole year to put the right regulatory format in place.
“What we want to do is choose the two or three areas where we trial it fairly carefully. It [80mph] has not been lost is my answer.”
Hammond added: “Our philosophy is that we should have the right speed on the right road.”
Philip Hammond was a major supporter of raising the limit, arguing that it could “provide hundreds of pounds for the economy”, generated by lowering journey times.
But road safety charity Brake has been a vocal opponent of plans to increase the limit to 80mph, arguing it is likely to “lead to more deaths, crashes and serious injuries”.
Don’t miss the 19 June issue of Auto Express for the full interview with transport minister Stephen Hammond, where he talks to us about the road network, young drivers, road tolling, cyclists and much more.