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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I rise briefly to oppose this amendment. There is a lot of evidence that speed does kill—I could go on at length about it—but I just recall all the arguments put forward in the last grouping of amendments, which said: "A momentary lack of concentration and you will end up with five years in jail". The same could apply here—a momentary lack of concentration and you will kill half a dozen people by jumping off the motorway. I do not believe there is any argument for increasing the speed limit. The first thing to do is enforce the existing speed limit, rather than allowing people to drive up to 90 without any enforcement action being taken at all.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, we have been around this particular motorway course before, in terms of speed limits—three times, I think, in the past 12 months. The arguments still hold. They hold even more strongly in some circumstances. The noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, referred to the American experience. The reason why American speed limits were so low at one time, she will remember, is that at
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1567
that time they were, believe it or not, actually quite concerned about emissions and consumption of fuel. I know they have raised them more recently.

I have to say that while she had one set of figures, I have another. In the states where speed limits have been raised to 75 miles per hour—and that is the highest level I know in the United States—there has been a 38 per cent rise in deaths per million vehicle miles. So I do not think her case is proven by the US, useful laboratory though that may be. One thing is clear, though: none of the states has an 80 mile-per-hour speed limit.

As the noble Baroness said, we have introduced some variety to motorway speed limits on a section of the M25. The limit was lowered for safety reasons in adverse circumstances. It was never raised beyond 70. It dropped below 70 when either traffic conditions or weather conditions necessitated some gradation on a particularly difficult part of the M25, in all its wonderful uniqueness.

With regard to the general issues, motorways are the safest roads we have in Britain, and the Government intend to keep them that way.

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. This is not a matter we are going to agree upon. We have certainly been around the M25 and the 80 mile-an-hour speed limit a number of times. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

6.57 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 21) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 56; Not-Contents, 163

Division No. 4


Alton of Liverpool, L.
Byford, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Crickhowell, L.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Erroll, E.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Freeman, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Jopling, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Marlesford, L.
Monson, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Renton, L.
Rogan, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Walpole, L.
Windlesham, L.


Adams of Craigielea, B.
Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President of the Council.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Boothroyd, B.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chan, L.
Clark of Calton, B.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Colville of Culross, V.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Garden, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Giddens, L.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Greaves, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haworth, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Neuberger, B.
Nicol, B.
Northover, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Patel, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Russell-Johnston, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sewel, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Finsbury, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Soley, L.
Stratford, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tonge, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Tyler, L.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

22 Nov 2005 : Column 1569
7.8 pm

Lord Bradshaw moved Amendment No. 22:

In section 85 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27) (traffic signs indicating speed restrictions), after subsection (4) insert—
"(4A) Where street lighting is furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart, traffic signs for indicating speed restrictions shall be placed at regular intervals.""

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a simple amendment. It is the present practice that, if there is a speed limit on a road and the road is in an unlit place, there are repeater signs. If the speed limit is 20 miles an hour, there are repeater signs; if it is 40 miles an hour, there are repeater signs; if it is 50 miles an hour, there are repeater signs; but if it is 30 miles an hour in a built-up area with streetlights not more than so many metres apart, no repeater signs may be erected by a local authority. That is plain stupid.

I am not saying that this is a major tenet of government policy; it is something that the Government inherited. Over a long stretch of road, we need to occasionally remind people of the speed at which they ought to be travelling. The amendment seeks to do that, and I hope that the Minister will save us time by saying that he will concede the amendment, and send us to dinner at least with me happy. I beg to move.

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