Drivers warned as Liz Truss hints at scrapping speed limits

EU: Speed limiters to be implemented from 2022

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Many road safety organisations have condemned Liz Truss’ suggestions that she would, if elected, remove speed limits and scrap smart motorways. Speaking at the final Conservative Party hustings, Liz Truss told attendees that smart motorways need to be reviewed and “stop them” if they’re not working.

She added: “All the evidence I have agrees with the point you’re making on smart motorways. 

“On speed limits, again, I’d be prepared to look at that. 

“I can’t give you a precise answer on the points but I do believe that the smart motorways experiment hasn’t worked.” 

In 2021 there were 1,560 reported deaths on all roads in Great Britain, a 13 percent reduction on the 2017 to 2019 average.

Some stretches of motorway have already had their speed limits slashed to 60mph to deal with emissions in the area.

This has been proposed as a viable option for other major roads, with further plans to reduce speed limits on rural roads, some as low as 20mph.

Nawaz Haq, Executive Director at SulNOx Group Plc, said our next Prime Minister and the Government should be focusing on how to reduce emissions, which have resulted in the climate emergency the world currently faces. 

Speaking to, he added: “It is staggering that any consideration of abandoning speed limits is even on the table.

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“Raising speed limits results in higher emissions and reduces fuel economy – bad for the environment and bad for motorists’ wallets. 

“The European Environment Agency says significant fuel savings can be achieved by encouraging drivers to maintain a consistent speed and restrict their speed, including through effective enforcement of speed limits.”

Many pointed to Germany’s autobahn, which historically doesn’t have a speed limit.

However, these roads have an advisory limit of 130km/h (80mph) to ensure motorists don’t drive recklessly.

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Mr Haq added: “Cutting speed can significantly reduce emissions of CO2 and other pollutants, particularly reducing NOx and particulate matter.  

“The safety gains from slower driving are also indisputable.

“These proposals should be confined to the bin as soon as possible.”

In 2011, the Government proposed to raise motorway speed limits to 80mph, but plans were rejected over fears they would increase emissions.

Mary Williams, chief executive of road safety charity Brake, said: “It’s a reality that people can and do continue to make mistakes behind the wheel – and the faster we drive, the greater our risk of collision and the harder the impact. 

“Any change to speed restrictions on motorways must be evidence-based, taking into account road user behaviour, road infrastructure and vehicle design to ensure safe roads for all.”

Rishi Sunak has also pledged to ban smart motorways and end the “war on motorists”. 

The Tory leadership candidate’s camp described him as the “most pro-driver chancellor in history”, having cut fuel duty rates by 5p per litre back in March.

Mr Sunak has pledged to transition to electric vehicles without punishing drivers and deliver a “rural rollout action plan” to ensure countryside communities are not left behind.

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