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HGV speed limit to be increased

The government says the haulage sector in England and Wales is set to benefit from an £11 million a year boost from an increase in the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads to 50mph.

The move, announced by Transport Minister Claire Perry on 24 July, will apply to heavy goods vehicles above 7.5 tonnes. They are currently limited to travelling at 40mph on single carriageway roads, a speed limit set in the 1960s, while the limit for cars on such roads is 60mph.

On the same day, the government launched a six-week consultation on plans to increase the speed limits for HGVs 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 £11 million 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 20mph 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.”

Geoff Dunning, from the Road Haulage Association, said: “This evidence-based decision by ministers, to increase the limit to 50mph 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 The current limit is long out of date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risks.”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.

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 30mph, 40mph or 50mph where this is made necessary because of pedestrian and cyclist use of the road, where the road is located and its layout.