We will not follow rest of UK by raising lorry speed limits, says Scottish Government as business leaders hit out at decision

The UK government has confirmed plans to increase lorry speed limits. Picture: PA
The UK government has confirmed plans to increase lorry speed limits. Picture: PA
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LORRY speed limits will not be increased in Scotland despite plans to raise them south of the Border, prompting criticism from Scottish business leaders.

• UK Government has raised lorry speed limits to 45-50mph on single carriageway

• Freight industry believes move would save £30m but Scottish Government will not follow suit

The UK Government’s Department for Transport today announced proposals to lift the 40mph limit on single carriageway roads to 45mph or 50mph in an attempt to boost economic growth.

It said the freight industry believed this would reduce costs by £30 million a year by improving journey times, cutting congestion, and reducing crashes caused by drivers overtaking slower lorries.

Officials added that some 70 per cent of lorries travelled at more than 40mph anyway.

However, a spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “Road safety is a top priority for Transport Scotland. Under newly conferred powers in the Scotland Act, the Scottish Government now has powers to set national speed limits, including vehicle speed limits, for the nation’s roads.

“We currently have no plans to implement an increase in speed limits across Scotland’s roads, including those relating to heavy goods vehicles.

But Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said: “Faster journeys for lorries would mean faster journeys for everyone,

enabling improved business connectivity. This is as true in Scotland as it is south of the border, and we would urge the Scottish Government to ensure that lorry drivers aren’t slamming the breaks on at the border.

“Our members in the freight industry are frustrated that the great strides made in vehicle safety over recent decades have not been recognised by the Government in raising lorries’ speed restrictions.”

The proposed change in England and Wales would only affect lorries above 7.5 tonnes, with the 50mph limit for smaller lorries unchanged.

Chris MacRae, Freight Transport Association head of policy - Scotland, said: “We have been campaigning on this subject for some years and we remain optimistic it is something that will be considered in the future.”