"Looming 2015 Election is forcing the coalition to address 30m motorists they've ignored so far"

We've had morsels of good news for motorists recently but Mike Rutherford thinks we're just been sweet-talked ahead of the 2015 election

Opinion - motorway

It’s amazing how an imminent and potentially disastrous General Election can concentrate the mind of a hitherto sleepy politician. 

The 2015 campaign has effectively started. In turn, this has forced the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport to wake up and address the 30-odd million car drivers he’s barely acknowledged thus far.

There are grave doubts that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government in which Patrick McLoughlin languishes will be returned to power next year. So his job is on the line – and he’s attempting to deliver some good news to those drivers he’s now attempting to befriend. After all, most have voting cards up their sleeves.

“Let me be absolutely clear,” he says with an apparent air of concern, honesty and enthusiasm that’s been lacking in the past. “I want ALL motorways to run at 70mph.”

Subscribe to Auto Express magazine here

Fair enough, it’s hardly an Election-winning statement, but it’s a start. So 70mph it is then – for every driver, on every motorway, every day, right? Not exactly. “It sometimes makes sense to use variable limits,” the Transport Secretary adds in his very next breath.

Or to put this another way, 70mph for all car drivers on all motorways is little more than a Paddy Mc pipedream. In reality, on many – perhaps most – M roads, he’ll continue to hit his new car driving ‘friends’ with 60, 50 or even 40mph restrictions. Offenders will still be fined/endorsed. 

Anything more McLoughlin would like to make “clear”? “The highway network [is] to get an EXTRA 900 miles of capacity.” That’s an impressive level of ‘new’ road building. So where and when will all the additional roads be constructed? Paddy Mc’s sidekick, roads minister John Hayes, steps in to answer: “The extra capacity will be achieved mainly by the use of smart motorways.”

• Are car brands illegally giving better deals to business users?

And in official Government speak, a smart motorway is one that “converts” the hard shoulder to a driving lane. So most if not all of those “extra 900 miles” are existing lanes/shoulders. Important point, that. As is this: All the above is dependent on you, dear voter/driver, returning the Tory/Lib Dem coalition to office next year, and again in 2020. And the chances of that happening are diddly squat. 

Will the transport policy of the leading parties affect the way you vote in the election? What would you like to see done? Let us know in the comments section below, on Twitter or on Facebook. 

Recommended

'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'
Opinion

'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'

Mike Rutherford thinks the new Pop-Up Motor Show can be the perfect way to serve the demands of Britain's car users
11 Oct 2020
'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020
'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
News

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020
Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive
News

Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive

Renault’s new CEO says the firm is examining the possibility of reducing the range of models it offers to UK buyers as it aims to boost profitability
20 Oct 2020