Plans to introduce 80mph limits on motorways around Birmingham could be phased in as early as next year.
Transport secretary Justine Greening has revealed plans will go ahead to test a condition-dependent 80mph speed limit.
The new variable 80mph motorway maximum will be tested on existing sections of the UK’s road network, which already can enforce variable limits through electronic signage – including parts of the M6 and M42 in the Midlands.
Road Minister Mike Penning said: “I hope the public are listening to me, because average speed cameras, especially on managed motorways, are ridiculously accurate.
“The argument, which will be in the public consultation, is what we enforce over 80mph. The answer will be that 80mph will be the speed limit, and not, as we interpret it today, perhaps 90mph.”
According to Department for Transport figures, up to 49 per cent of UK motorists gratuitously flout the national 70mph speed limit.
Thanks in part to advances in car technology and safety – as well as road traffic management systems – a 75 per cent drop in road fatalities in the UK has occurred since the 70mph limit was first introduced in 1965.
A study on the potential for the introduction of an 80mph limit, including details of the proposed pilot scheme, will be publish in early summer.
But the department said the increases could only be trialled, and possibly rolled out to the wider motorway network, once consultation had been carried it out with motoring groups and the public.
A DfT spokesman said: “In theory it could come in next year.
“We are looking at how we could increase speeds on the motorway but it must be cost effective, efficient and safe.
“We are aiming to consult shortly.”
The step up to 80mph was proposed by former Transport Minister Philip Hammond before he became Defence Secretary last October.
Speed cameras at the relevant sites will enforce the new trial speed, but the units will not allow the normal amount of leeway for drivers exceeding the set limit.
Police guidelines usually state a “10 per cent plus 2mph” margin, however, if this method were to be employed it would see drivers able to travel at 90mph without getting caught – a speed too fast on the UK’s roads in the eyes of the Government.