Dutch minister floats idea of general 80 km/h speed limit

The Netherlands is thinking of introducing a general speed limit of 80 km/h near its four major cities to help keep the country within EU air quality limits.

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Speaking to the Dutch parliament last month, the country’s transport minister Karla Peijs said she wanted to seriously consider introducing a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h around Amsterdam,The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. This would effectively mean a national limit for the built-up Randstad region which covers the whole of the west of the country.

T&E director Jos Dings, himself a Dutchman, said: “The interesting thing about this is that Peijs came to her job as a strong opponent of restrictions on road transport, and of pricing. Experience has caused her to change her mind on pricing, and now she obviously believes some restrictions are necessary, and reducing speed limits is a winner on so many fronts.”

One of Peijs’ plans is to narrow the width of motorway lanes, in some cases making four lanes where there are currently three. “The width of the lanes encourages fast speeds,” she said, “and leaves us no option but to narrow them.”

Several infrastructure pro-jects – among them roads, port expansions and housing developments – have been blocked by the highest Dutch court because EU air quality limits are regularly exceeded.

This news story is taken from the May 2005 edition of T&E Bulletin.