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Transport secretary rejects blanket speed reduction on smart motorways

  • 15 July 2014
  • By Ashleigh Wight

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ruled out lowering the speed limit on ‘smart’ motorways, describing blanket reductions as unacceptable.

The outcome of a consultation into reducing the maximum speed limit for cars from 70mph to 60mph on smart motorways highlighted concerns with overtaking HGVs that travel at 56mph.

The Highways Agency (HA) said restricting the speed limit for HGVs on smart motorways, like some consultation respondents suggested, would have “a number of very undesirable consequences”. It said this would likely reduce operators’ ability to do business and may force trucks to use local roads.

McLoughlin has asked the HA to explore alternative ways of maintaining a steady, speed limit on smart motorways, particularly outside of peak times, in the next 12 to 18 months rather than reducing the speed limit for any vehicle.

McLoughlin said: “Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.”

His comments came after the Department for Transport revealed that work is about to start on three smart motorway schemes on the M1 junctions 28 to 31 in Derbyshire, M1 junctions 32 to 35a in south Yorkshire and M3 junctions 2 to 4a in Surrey.

“Smart motorways are an effective and cost efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes,” McLoughlin said.


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