The ‘No to 80’ coalition is highlighting the huge costs to society of the proposal, which it predicts will exceed £1 billion annually in economic terms, mean more families needlessly suffering from motorway crashes and casualties, millions of tonnes more carbon pumped into the atmosphere each year and further damage to tranquillity in the countryside.
The coalition, coordinated by road safety charity Brake, also comprises: The Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace, Roadpeace, Road Victims Trust and10:10.
They are appealing to the Government to ditch its ‘inhumane’ proposal for 80 mph limits and instead set out how it will deliver social, environmental and economic benefits associated with improved safety and speed management on those roads. The coalition has written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening to request a meeting reviewing the evidence against 80 mph limits.
The coalition says that an 80 mph motorway speed limit is predicted by experts to result in more road deaths and serious injuries. One academic estimated it would lead to 25 extra deaths and 100 more serious injuries each year. It is also expected to mean 2.2 million more tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
The ‘No to 80’ coalition estimates the combined economic cost to the public of 80 mph limits to be £1 billion annually. The figure includes: £62.4 million costs from road casualties, including costs to health and emergency services and human costs, £180.4m in carbon costs and £766.6m in fuel costs.
Conversely, it argues, the potential benefits to society and the economy of 80 mph limits are questionable. Aside from oil companies, businesses don’t stand to benefit, lorries won’t go faster because they are speed limited and for car and van drivers and 80 mph limits are unlikely to make a significant difference to journey times on the congested road network. In fact, says the organisations, uneven traffic flow and increased crashes could cause more hold-ups.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: ‘The ‘No to 80’ campaign calls on the Government to listen to the overwhelming evidence that raising motorway limits is dangerous, costly and damaging.’