|London, 12 May 1999.
For immediate release.
At the same time, Ministers are dismissing out of hand recommendations by all the leading motoring organisations and endorsed by many advanced civilian instructors and (off the record) by Class 1 Police Drivers that the motorway speed limit should be increased to at least 80mph.
"Motoring groups should now be under no illusions," says ABD road and traffic spokesman Mark McArthur Christie. "The government have shown that they are not interested in rational arguments based on road safety. They are simply in the pocket of the anti car lobby."
The excuse given for rejecting pleas for a motorway limit increase is not even safety related. The safety case for 80mph is so strong that not even the DETR boloney generating machine (quite capable of arguing that black is white) can come up with a remotely credible objection. Instead, we are told that "emissions increase exponentially at speeds over 60mph".
WHAT EMISSIONS ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? DO THEY ACTUALLY KNOW, OR IS THIS JUST A THROWAWAY, DISMISSIVE COMMENT?
It can't be air quality related emissions:
Perhaps they are talking about Mr Prescott's favourite subject, Carbon Dioxide, the raw material for life itself, which allegedly might warm up the planet. On the other hand, it might not - and even if it does, this might be good news.
If emissions of this substance increase with car speeds, then so they do with train and aircraft speeds. Why is Mr Prescott therefore not slowing down these modes of transport to reduce emissions?
With likely improvements in road safety to be derived from an increase in the motorway speed limit, a situation reflecting what happened in the USA, the environmental argument against such a rise is now seen to be entirely vacuous. There is no justification in opposing an 80mph motorway limit.
THE AA, RAC AND OTHER MOTORING GROUPS ARE BEING TAKEN FOR FOOLS HAVING MADE UTTERLY REASONABLE REQUESTS TO THE GOVERNMENT. PERHAPS NOW THEY WILL WAKE UP TO THE REALITY OF HOW DEEP THE CLAWS OF THE ANTI-CAR LOBBY HAVE SUNK INTO OUR SPINELESS POLITICAL LEADERS.