Could motorway speed limits be SCRAPPED? Liz Truss ‘prepared to look into’ idea and signals she will BAN smart roads if she becomes Britain’s next Prime Minister
- Foreign Secretary also said her government would review smart road schemes
- In January, Grant Shapps ordered 100 miles of smart motorway’s to be paused
- Roads without a hard shoulder are three times more lethal to break down on
- There were 53 deaths on smart motorways in the four years to 2019
- Liz Truss has previously said she would look at limits on raising motorway limits
Liz Truss pledged to examine whether motorway speed limits should be scrapped if she becomes prime minister.
The Foreign Secretary said she would be ‘prepared to look into’ the radical idea which could see British motorways transformed into a German autobahn system with no restrictions on speed.
She also said her government would review smart road schemes, signalling she would ban the controversial motorways, in answer to a question at the final Tory leadership hustings at Wembley Arena in London.
Miss Truss was asked if upon becoming PM she would ‘change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory’ and ‘restore hard shoulders’ by a Conservative member.
She replied: ‘On speed limits, we need to be prepared to look at that […]. I can’t give you a precise answer.’
Miss Truss has previously touted increasing speed limits, telling a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in September 2018 that she would look at raising motorway limits to 80mph.
Liz Truss last night pledged to examine whether motorway speed limits should be scrapped if she becomes prime minister
She said her government would review smart road schemes in answer to a question at the final Tory leadership hustings at Wembley Arena in London
Mr Sunak has already pledged to ban new smart motorways, and to ensure that all the existing ones are improved with extra refuge areas and technology to identify stopped vehicles. Yesterday, he said that ‘we shouldn’t rule anything out’ when asked about energy rationing
The M3 smart motorway near Longcross in Surrey. The rollout of smart motorways is paused amid safety concerns
The smart motorway network so far with the areas that will be completed despite the pause
In January, following a Daily Mail campaign, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered around 100 miles of smart motorway projects to be paused – but many more are still under construction.
That is despite a report in May revealing that the roads without a hard shoulder are three times more lethal to break down on than those that retain the safety lane.
Frost in talks to be MP
Lord Frost is in talks with local Conservative associations about standing as an MP.
The former Brexit minister revealed that he has spent several months discussing where in the country he could run as a parliamentary candidate.
In an interview with The House magazine, he suggested he would seek to quit the Lords for the Commons if appointed to the next prime minister’s Cabinet. ‘I don’t think our system works very well for prolonged periods of time when a senior minister is not in the elected house,’ he said. ‘It’s fundamental fairness… that’s how the constitution works.’
But he added that he was ‘still making my mind up’ about the move. Lord Frost, who is backing Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, led the UK’s post-Brexit negotiations with the EU, but then quit as a minister last December over issues including ‘coercive’ Covid restrictions.
The National Highways analysis also showed there were 53 deaths on smart motorways in the four years to 2019, with at least 18 blamed to some degree on the roads.
At the hustings last night, Miss Truss agreed that the push to build the motorways needed to be reviewed. She said: ‘I absolutely think that we need to review them and stop them if they’re not working as soon as possible. I believe the smart motorways experiment hasn’t worked.’
She also agreed to ‘look into’ the suggestion that speed limits on motorways should be scrapped. Lifting the 70mph limit would bring motorways in line with certain sections of Germany’s autobahns where there are only advisory speeds.
However, drivers do face increased liability if a crash happens while they travel at high speeds.
In 2018, The Telegraph has said, Miss Truss told Conservative members, when she was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, ‘I’d also like us to look again at things like our speed limits on the motorway.
‘We have often toyed with the idea of raising it to 80mph, why don’t we look at that again?’
Miss Truss ruled out energy rationing to cope with the cost-of-living crisis and declared there would be no new taxes under her premiership.
Mr Sunak has already pledged to ban new smart motorways, and to ensure that all the existing ones are improved with extra refuge areas and technology to identify stopped vehicles. Yesterday, he said that ‘we shouldn’t rule anything out’ when asked about energy rationing.
Michael Gove paid tribute to Boris Johnson last night – just weeks after being sacked by him and branded a snake by No 10. At the Wembley hustings, he said the country must never forget the departing Prime Minister’s achievements.
‘He was the man who delivered Brexit. He was the man who delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in the world. He was the man who stood resolute with Volodymyr Zelensky and the brave people of Ukraine when others wobbled and shirked the struggle,’ the former cabinet minister told party members.