Hauliers across England and Wales could see an £11m a year boost, according to the government, as it announced plans to raise the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads to 50 mph.
Transport minister Claire Perry announced the move as part of a package of measures which she said would cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving.
Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes are currently restricted to 40 mph on single carriageway roads, a speed limit set in the 1960s and at odds with other large vehicles on our roads.
The government has launched a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for HGVs on dual carriageways from 50 mph to 60 mph.
The minister said: “We’re are doing all we can to get Britain moving and boost growth. This change will do exactly that and save our haulage industry £11m a year.
“Britain has one of the world’s best road safety records and yet speed limits for lorries have been stuck in the 1960s. This change will remove a 20 mph difference between lorry and car speed limits, cutting dangerous overtaking and bringing permitted lorry speeds into line with other large vehicles like coaches and caravans. Current speed limits for HGVs were introduced around 50 years ago and need to be updated given improved vehicle technology.”
Road Haulage Association chief executive Geoff Dunning said: “This evidence-based decision by ministers, to increase the limit to 50 mph will be strongly welcomed by hauliers and their drivers. The current limit is long out of date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risks.”
The change in speed limits for HGVs on single carriageways will come into force in early 2015 and will bring England and Wales in line with other European road safety leaders, such as Denmark and Norway. Depending on the consultation responses, the increase for dual carriageways will come in at the same time. The existing limits continue to apply until the change has been put into effect.
The Department for Transport is also urging English councils to use local powers issued last year to restrict traffic to 30, 40 or 50 mph where necessary because of pedestrian and cyclist use of roads, where the road is located and the layout.