Motorway speed limits could be raised to 80mph thanks to electric vehicles, says Transport Secretary

File photo dated 26/10/09 of traffic on a motorway. Drivers could risk paying hundreds of pounds more than they need to for car insurance due to "quirks" in how insurers and comparison websites collect data, according to Which?.

Motorway speed limits could be increased to 80mph thanks to electric vehicles, it has been reported.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is apparently looking at raising the speed limit on motorways and some dual carriageways based on the premise that any increased pollution will be offset by the increasing numbers of electric vehicles on the road.

Mr Shapps told an event at the Conservative Party conference that when speed limits were last reviewed in 2011, the decision was taken not to increase them because of environment concerns, the Telegraph reported.

“I think there is an argument for looking at our speed limits, both in terms of higher speed limits and actually lower limits - 20mph outside of schools,” Mr Shapps - himself a driver of an electric car - is reported to have said.

“I think there is an argument that once you have increased the level of electrification and therefore decreased or entirely removed carbon, that you might look at those things again,” he added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says he has been looking at the idea of raising motorway speed limits to 80mph (Picture: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

The speed limit on motorways has been 70mph since 1965 but some argue that limit should be increased.

The RAC previously said the 70mph speed limit should be reviewed, following figures from its Report on Motoring that suggested while compliance with speed limits on lower speed roads was improving, there had been a reduction in those sticking to the 70mph limit.

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Jim O'Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, also previously said that it was possible to raise the limit but it was “socially embedded in this country”.

But some road safety campaigners argue against raising speed limits, saying it will increase the number of accidents and deaths on the road.

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