80mph motorway limit plan mooted

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed plans to consult on raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph, saying the current 70mph limit has become "discredited" and has resulted in millions of motorists breaking the law.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Hammond said that any decision to raise the speed limit would "restore the legitimacy" of the system and benefit the economy by "hundreds of millions of pounds".

Mr Hammond hit back at road safety and environmental campaigners who have criticised his proposals, claiming the law had failed to keep pace with "huge advances" in motoring technology.

He said: "The limit was introduced way back in 1965 - when the typical family car was a Ford Anglia."

Critics argued that increasing the motorway speed limit could cause more accidents, which in turn could raise the cost of car insurance policies due to an increase in claims.

Mr Hammond admitted that he, like Baroness Thatcher, owned an Anglia, but added: "Things have changed quite a bit since then. There have been huge advances in car technology, road deaths have been reduced by three-quarters.

"Meanwhile, the 70mph limit has been discredited because it failed to keep up with these changes - with almost half of all motorists exceeding it, bringing the law into disrepute."

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