PLANS to commit to a consultation on increasing the speed limit of the M4 and A55 from 70mph to 80mph would ‘get the Welsh economy moving’, according to the Welsh Conservatives.
The idea for such a consultation has in recent years been mooted by UK Government ministers – most recently by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, who in 2015 said the government will consider the proposal for faster roads as it introduces more ‘smart motorways’ over the next two years.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) – who recommended proposals for an 80mph speed limit pilot in Scotland and Wales – describes motorways as “our safest roads because they are designed for high speeds” and the vehicles using them have “never been safer”.
Welsh Conservatives believe that increasing the speed limit on North and South Wales’ busiest roads would not only cut down on commuting times, thereby improving quality of life, but would serve to ease the journey of cars and vans carrying goods and services who rely on these crucial transport corridors to reach a number of different destinations throughout the day.
A Welsh Conservative government would ensure that if the consultation found that a pilot was successful in terms of safety, practicality and driver acceptance; strict enforcement measures would be imposed to ensure that drivers would not exceed the speed limit.
The consultation forms part of a broader commitment of to prioritise transport developments which better link people to economic and social opportunities, delivering infrastructure that saves people time and money.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: “The M4 and A55 are vital arteries in the Welsh economy with thousands of commuters relying on their use every day.
“Welsh Conservatives believe that raising the speed limit from 70mph to 80mph could play a vital role in getting our economy moving and offering invaluable support to hard-pressed motorists, commuters and businesses.
“Consultation would be key – ensuring the views of all stakeholders are considered, so any change on the M4 and A55 is delivered with safety paramount.”
Andrew Atkinson, prospective Assembly Member for Wrexham, said: “Improvements to roads and the design of cars means that the current 70mph speed limit on the A55 could now be obsolete – motorists should be allowed to drive faster, if a consultation finds it safe and feasible.
“Such a decision would bring us in line with the continent, where most major roads have an 81mph speed limit.
“We must consider all possibilities to improve our roads and infrastructure for the benefit of our economy and our hardworking road users who fuel it.
“The consultation is just one of a raft of measures we’d take to ensure that drivers get the best experience from our roads to reach their desired destinations and go about their daily business as safely as possible without unnecessary delay.”