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Rural speed limit for lorries rises to 50mph

Transport Minister Claire Perry has announced the move for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes as part of a package of measures to ‘cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving’.

Today (24th July) also sees the Government launch a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for lorries on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph.

Ms Perry said: ‘We’re 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.’

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has voiced its support of the news.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy, said: ‘The FTA strongly supports this decision as we believe there is evidence confirming that road safety will be improved if the differential between HGVs and other road users is reduced.  Many motorists do not understand that the limit for lorries is only 40mph and this can lead to frustration and on occasion risky overtaking.’  

The current speed limit was introduced in the 1960s, since when lorry technology has advanced considerably.  

Bingham continued:
 ‘This decision will allow changes to enable our roads to be used safely, and will save time for hauliers resulting in an economic benefit which has been estimated as being worth £11m a year across the freight and logistics industry.’

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 50mph where necessary because of pedestrian and cyclist use of roads, where the road is located and the layout. The department has also announced today the intention to carry out a major study about rural road safety in the near future. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.