Moves to increase the speed limit on the A55 to 80mph are being backed by Tories in Wales.

The Welsh Conservatives have pledged to commit to a consultation on allowing motorists to drive at 80mph on the busy expressway, which links Chester and North Wales.

They believe that increasing the speed limit would 'get the Welsh economy moving' and will back the bid if they get elected next month.

The idea has already been mooted by UK Government ministers who say the proposal for faster roads will introduce more 'smart motorways' over the next two years.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), who recommended proposals for an 80mph speed limit pilot in Wales, describes motorways as 'our safest roads because they are designed for high speeds' and the vehicles using them have 'never been safer'.

Related story: A55 disruption ahead as 12 months of roadworks announced

The Welsh Conservatives say increasing the speed limit from 70mph on the A55 will cut down on commuting times 'thereby improving quality of life', and would ease the journey of vehicles carrying goods and services who rely on such crucial transport corridors.

Strict enforcement measures would be imposed to ensure that drivers would not exceed the speed limit if the pilot is successful, the Tories claim.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew Davies, said: “The A55 is a vital artery in the Welsh economy with thousands of commuters relying on its use every day. Welsh Conservatives believe raising the speed limit to 80mph could play a vital role in getting our economy moving and offering invaluable support to hard-pressed motorists, commuters and businesses.”

'Motorists should be allowed to drive faster'

Andrew Atkinson, prospective AM for Wrexham, said: “Improvements to roads and the design of cars means that the current 70mph speed limit on the A55 could now be obsolete. Motorists should be allowed to drive faster if a consultation finds it safe and feasible.

“Such a decision would bring us in line with the continent, where most major roads have an 81mph speed limit. We must consider all possibilities to improve our roads and infrastructure for the benefit of our economy and our hardworking road users who fuel it.”

But Jack Kushner, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Brake urges the government to reject needless proposals to increase speed limits to 80mph.

“We’re disappointed it is being considered. Evidence from previous consultations made it clear that an increase would not only be dangerous – potentially 25 more deaths and 100 more serious injuries each year – but also highly damaging to the environment and economy.

“Research shows it would lead to increased congestion, do little to reduce journey times and add an extra 2.2m tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere each year.

“Instead of dangerously raising speed limits, we would instead encourage the government to invest further in sustainable travel and rural public transport, making our roads safer for all.”

'Significant assurances' sought

A spokesman for Stena Line, who operate ferries from Holyhead to Dublin, said: “Stena Line is in favour of any measures which will help to improve the efficiency of the UK road transport system, especially in Wales. However, with the proposed raising of the A55 speed limit from 70mph to 80mph, Stena Line would seek significant assurances that such a move would not comprise road safety in any way and in this regard would call for a very stringent pilot project to test the proposal."

Would you like to see the speed limit on the A55 upped to 80mph? Let us know in the comments section below.