80mph limit will cost £1bn say campaigners

Plans to increase the speed limits on motorways to 80mph will cost the country up to £1bn a year, including counting the cost of potential extra injuries and deaths, according to safety campaigners.

Road safety charity Brake is spearheading a coalition of like-minded organisations that has launched a campaign to protest against the government's plans to increase motorway speed limits. You can read the official press release here.

The move is a reaction to a Government consultation on proposals to raise the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph.

The plan to raise speed limits was originally announced by former transport secretary Phillip Hammond and, should it come to fruition, would start with a trial period on selected parts of the motorways network.

But the Brake-led coalition vehemently opposes the idea, saying that costs will "exceed £1 billion annually in economic terms, mean more families needlessly suffering from motorway crashes and casualties, millions of tonnes more carbon pumped into the atmosphere each year and further damage to tranquillity in the countryside".

Brake reckons, specifically, that the costs to health and emergency services could hit £62.4m, carbon costs would total £180.4m, and £766.6m in fuel costs.

AA President Edmund King was perhaps more sanguine when he spoke to the Telegraph on the subject last week: "Some stretches of motorway are more suitable for 80mph than others," he said. "If you don't have adequate central reservation barriers, a hard shoulder and variable speed limit message signs then the road is not safe for 80mph."

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: "The Department is carrying out work to assess the potential economic, safety and environmental impacts of trialling 80mph speed limits on motorways where variable limits are currently in place.

"This work is ongoing and no final decisions have yet been taken about which stretches of motorway would be included in any proposed trial. We plan to bring forward detailed proposals and start consultation during the next few months."

Comments (306) Join the discussion on the forum

  • TheRoadWarrior 21 May 2012

    180 million in Carbon costs?

    What exactly are 'Carbon costs'?

  • Al 450 21 May 2012

    Codswallop, do it now!

  • TrevorH 21 May 2012

    Do these people actually travel on our motorways and see how fast a free-running motorway moves?
    BTW, it won't change my standard motorway speed (SMS), it'll just be legal.

    Edited to add - Brake are pulling numbers out of thin air.

  • mrmr96 21 May 2012

    Seems most of the extra cost is "£766.6m in fuel costs." but that's down to the drivers, as there's nothing stopping people carrying on at 70mph if they want to save fuel. The drivers who will do 80mph are, dare I say, probably already driving at 80mph with the existing limit in place.

  • VR6 Turbo 21 May 2012

    Dear Brake

    please could you explain how Germany hasn't imploded?

    thanks VR

View all comments in the forums Make a comment