Plans to raise motorway speed limit

The Government is planning to raise motorway speed limit to 80mph in an effort to boost productivity.

According to transport secretary Philip Hammond, an increase in speed limits on the motorway could help to shorten journey times and support the economy.

He insisted that road safety alone cannot be the sole determining factor when changing speed limits. This could however lead to an increase in the number of car insurance claims.

Britain's 70mph motorway speed limit has been in force since 1965. The current limit is lower than most in continental Europe.

The maximum motorway speed limit in France and Italy is 81mph, while in Ireland, Spain and Portugal it is 75mph.

Mr Hammond, who owns a Jaguar XJ saloon, said: "We need to do this on a pretty rigorous cost-benefit basis. At the moment there are a clear set of criteria for making these decisions. Perhaps we ought to ask if we are using the right set of criteria."

Figures for 2009 showed there were 132 deaths on British motorways during the year.

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