Press release

Plans unveiled to increase lorry speeds to boost growth

Announcement of plans to increase the speed limit for some heavy goods vehicles in a bid to boost economic growth.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Plans to increase the speed limit for some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in a bid to boost economic growth have been announced today (9 November 2012) by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond.

The current speed limit on single carriageways for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes is 40 miles per hour (mph). Under the proposals, this could be increased to 45 mph or 50 mph.

The freight industry say this will help growth by improving journey times, cutting congestion and reducing costs to business and the cost of goods people buy. It could also reduce the number of collisions caused by other road users overtaking slower moving lorries.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said:

The government is committed to doing everything it can to improve conditions for economic growth. We are consulting on increasing the single carriage way speed limit for certain HGVs after listening to industry experts who say that this will boost the UK economy and businesses of all sizes.

While this is likely to lead to more than £30 million a year in benefits for businesses through quicker journeys and reduced congestion, I want to make sure we have carefully considered the evidence of all of the effects on the economy, environment and – of course – road safety before we make a decision. I welcome views from all.

DfT statistics on monitored free-flow roads estimate that around 70% of HGVs currently travel over 40 mph and it is argued that these HGVs have an unfair competitive advantage over those who stick to the speed limit.

The speed limit for smaller HGVs (those between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes) is 50 mph. This will remain unchanged. This consultation does not cover any other speed limits.

The launch of the consultation follows a commitment published in ‘The logistics growth review’ in November 2011.

The consultation will run until 1 February.

Notes to editors

The consultation is now available on the DfT website

The Department for Transport estimates that around 280,000 HGVs would be impacted by the changes

The maximum speed limit for the road on single carriageways is 60 mph, (unless a local speed limit is in force)

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Published 9 November 2012