Fin24

UK's cure for slow economy: drive faster

2011-09-30 10:52

London - The British government has come up with a literal cure for economic slowdown - it wants drivers to drive faster on the nation’s motorways.

“Now it is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology,” Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said.

The speed limit on Britain’s motorways is 70 miles per hour (120km), lower than in many countries in continental Europe.

“Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80 mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times. So we will consult later this year on raising the limit to get Britain moving,” Hammond said.

The Conservative government is seeking ways to boost a faltering economy without breaking with its austerity plans.

Its “drive faster” plan was condemned by environmentalists, who said it would lead to increased oil consumption and carbon emissions. Hammond said he was confident higher speeds would have only a marginal effect on road safety.