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Stephen Hammond reopens 80mph limit debate

At Conservative party conference, Transport minister says 80mph limit should be "revisited"

Transport minister Stephen Hammond

The Government is still looking at the possibility of 80mph speed limits, according to transport minister Stephen Hammond.

His comments came at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and highlight a serious difference of opinion in the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced the plans in 2011, before current Secretary Patrick McLoughlin ruled out the prospect earlier this year.

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But now Stephen Hammond has said they should be “revisited”. He told an activist: “Mr (Philip) Hammond is a great supporter of 80 miles per hour. He thinks it's the right thing to do.

"That's not a universal view among my colleagues and at the moment, because there are a huge number of other things on, we have not stopped work on it, but it's not a priority.

“Given that a lot of people travel at 80 miles per hour and we could enforce 80 miles per hour, at some stage we will want to come back and look at it."

80mph speed limit still on Government agenda

Earlier this year, Stephen Hammond exclusively told Auto Express that trials for 80mph limits would start in 2014. He said: “It [80mph] 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.”

But within days, he had very publicly been slapped down by his boss, Patrick McLoughlin, who told The Times: “It’s not something that is a high priority.” And a source close to McLoughlin added: “This is not going to happen with Patrick McLoughlin as Transport Secretary.”

Now Stephen Hammond has reopened the debate again – although he declined to to say whether he ever broke the law by driving at 80mph when pressed.

Are you in favour of increasing the national speed limit to 80mph? Or are you against the idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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