New regulations to raise the speed limit for heavy good vehicles (HGVs) on single and dual carriageways have been heavily criticised by road safety groups.

Under new regulations announced by the coalition government last year, the speed limit for HGVs will increase from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways, and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways, from 6 April 2015.

The new regulations have been described as ‘short sighted’ by road safety charity Brake. The charity says the move could lead to an increase in deaths and serious injuries on UK roads due to the proven link between speed and casualties.

There are between 60 and 80 fatal accidents involving HGVs on single track roads each year and around 18 of those involve vehicles travelling at speeds between 36mph and 44mph.

According to the latest figures, HGVs account for around 20% of all cyclist fatalities and during 2013 alone nine out of 14 London cyclist deaths involved HGVs.

David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors' Newcastle office, said: “HGVs pose a very real danger to road users as we’ve seen from the four London cyclist deaths this year - all of which involved HGVs. The move to allow these vehicles to travel at significantly higher speeds is an irresponsible and dangerous decision from the coalition government.”

"Using the argument that UK roads are some of the safest in the world as justification for making them less safe is not only arrogant but a slap in the face to every family who loses a loved one from this week on. These changes, which apparently provide marginal benefit to the haulage industry, will be at the cost of road users’ safety."