New British Prime Minister Liz Truss has suggested she is willing to open a debate on whether mandatory motorway speed limits should be scrapped.
At a final ‘hustings’ debate PM Truss was asked by a Tory member whether she is in favour of removing speed limits on motorways and allowing drivers to dictate their own speeds without prosecution.
In response, Truss appeared to take the motion seriously, saying: “On speed limits, we need to be prepared to look at that… I can’t give you a precise answer”.
The debate was held just prior to the final vote that would see PM Truss defeat Rishi Sunak to become new Conservative party leader and consequently UK Prime Minister.
Should a proposal go ahead with PM Truss’ support, it would enable the UK to turn certain stretches in a motorway network similar to that of Germany’s autobahn. Its network features unrestricted speed limits in places, albeit with an advisory maximum of 130km/h (80mph).
The debate of speed limits is one that has raged for several years with some in favour of increasing it and other more environment focused parties preferring greater regulation.
In 2011, a proposal to raise the speed limit to 80mph was abandoned due to fears of its impact on the environment, while another attempt led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was launched in 2019 before being shelved.
Truss’ views come amid an ongoing debate about the implementation of Smart Motorways, which too could be scrapped under her tenure.
Now widespread across the UK’s motorway network at great cost and disruption, Smart Motorways - which vary speed limits to control the flow of traffic and allow use of the hard shoulder as an active lane - have come in for criticism following several high-profile incidents.
At the same hustings debate, PM Truss declared: “I do believe that the smart motorway network experiment hasn’t worked,”