Government Plans to Raise Speed Limit to 80mph.

It may be popular with motorists and if passed will more than likely help the Conservatives in the coming election, but the Governments plans to increase the national speed limit to 80 and save hundreds of billions of pounds do not come without its problems.

Philip Hammond’s plan has created a backlash of protest from environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace. Raising the limit by 10 mph will increase the amount of emissions from petrol cars by 15% while diesel car emissions would increase by 25%, research found by the Guardian on Friday told us. Running out of oil quicker, increasing carbon emissions and destroying the Arctic so we can fuel our ‘faster journeys’ seems madness and in the words of Greenpeace’s Emma Gibson on Channel 4 News ‘I can’t think of anything worse for our economy’.

Hammond did declare that there are plans to introduce more ultra low emission vehicles, but even if the price of these cars was made more within the public’s reach do they really want to be racing about at almost 90 mph in an electric car?!

The Tories are selling this under the pretence of being ‘the motorists friend’ by decreasing journey time and making billions of pounds for the economy. To me however it seems that due to the increase in the amount of fuel cars will go through, this change will hit the pockets of the general public hard. In a time of economic downturn individuals and businesses will shell out more for fuel, tyres and car parts that are bound to reach the end of their life quicker.

Another problem standing in the Tories way is the increased chances of death on our roads.  While speaking to Channel 4 News on Thursday Philip Hammond ensured us that in other countries like Norway, where they have raised the speed limit, there has not been an increase in road fatalities. Britain however has a significantly larger population than Norway, meaning the situation on the roads is busier and would not necessarily pan out like it did there. The Government will look into the estimated figures and publish an analysis of road deaths before this bill is put forward.

One of the selling points to this plan is that most motorists break the speed limit anyway, why not raise it? Currently, Uk motorists break the speed limit by approximately 10%. Would this change in law not then mean that effectively, drivers would drive at almost 90? When this was put to him Mr Hammond denied that, explaining that drivers would not drive above a speed that they felt comfortable. As a driver myself I contest this. It is patronising to the public for Mr Hammond to expect us to believe that this limit will not be broken and will not cause more accidents. I just wonder whether he has calculated in the cost to the economy of increased ambulance services, the cost to the environment as we pollute more and more and the cost to society when people are losing their loved ones on the roads.

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4 Responses

  1. Politicians are very good at putting forward so many positives that the public just assume that’s all there is to it and don’t read more into it, and therefore don’t find the negatives. Instead of doing what is right for the country in this state of global warming, the Tories seem to be pushing this idea simply to win in the popularity contest.

  2. The max anyone is going to commute by car is maybe 2 hours? You’ll be lucky if this new limit will gain you 15 minutes.

  3. Charlie Brooker’s article in the guardian today is hilarious about the new government plans on the speed limit. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/02/charlie-brooker-80mph-speed-limit

  4. It’s claimed that since people break the speed limit it should be increased, however most people do not have the skills to drive at higher speeds so unless an advanced driving test is made compulsary this is a very dangerous proposal which cannot end well.

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