Sustrans slams government plans as ‘fantasy economics’

‘Raising speed limits will mean UK will miss emissions targets’

Proposals to raise the speed limit on the motorway will mean the UK will find it harder to hit its legal obligations to cut emissions, according to Sustrans.

The charity roundly criticised the plans from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond – which would see motorway speed limits raised from 70mph to 80mph. Hammond said the increase would boost the economy by hundreds of millions each year, largely through cutting workers journey time. Sustrans called the notion ‘fantasy economics’.

“The decision-making behind this proposed increase in motorway speeds is based on fantasy economics that assigns big financial savings to small time saving," argued Jason Torrance, Sustrans’ acting policy director. "The idea that if five minutes is saved on a journey, then more time can productively be spent at work simply isn’t the case.

“We urgently need the government to tackle the financial pressures that many people are facing in this country rather than penalising car drivers by suggesting that they use more fuel.

"We need a transport strategy that is supported by a fair and balanced appraisal system. This means the benefits of investment in public transport, walking and cycling need to be properly measured and valued, and all of the costs associated with car travel and increased speed need to be properly taken into account.”

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