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New speed limits that will affect horsebox drivers are due to come in later this year.

The speed limit for horseboxes over 7.5 tonnes travelling on dual carriageways in England and Wales will rise from 50mph to 60mph on 6 April 2015.

Under the government’s new rules, local authorities can still enforce a 40mph limit where needed, due to pedestrians, cyclists, settlements on roads, high air pollution or safety risks.

From 6 April, the speed limit is also going up for heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageways, from 40mph to 50mph.

The new speed limits will apply only in England and Wales; the Scottish parliament is analysing the results of a trial carried out on the A9 into increasing the speed limit on single carriageways.

The government’s new rules update regulations dating back to the 1980s and bring the speed limits on dual carriageways in line with motorways.

“It is important that speed limits for lorries reflect the needs of a modern transport network,” said transport minister Claire Perry. “This change is about ensuring rules for lorry drivers’ speed limits are in line with other larger vehicles, creating a fairer and more proportionate system.”

The increase on dual carriageways will not make a huge amount of difference to horsebox drivers, as under EU law their speed limiters are fixed at 56mph.

The increase on single carriageways has been introduced to reduce delays and congestion, particularly on busy A roads, and to reduce dangerous overtaking. The government estimates the benefits to business will be £11.8m.

Horse transporter Julie Magnus welcomes the change in speeds on single carriageways, but said the limiters are important on dual carriageways.

“You don’t want to be driving horses at speed. They should also be fitted to 3.5 tonne boxes to stop people driving too fast,” she told H&H.

Ref: Horse & Hound; 29 January 2015