The speed limit for lorries on single lane carriageways is to increase to 50mph in England and Wales, the government has announced.

The measures, which will come in to force in early 2015, are justified as easing congestion and reducing dangerous over-taking. The government claims that hauliers across England and Wales could see an £11 million a year boost as a result.

The government has also launched a consultation on increasing the speed limit for lorries on dual carriageways from 50mph to 60mph.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “This speed limit increase is nothing short of reckless. The government is essentially increasing the risk, and potential gravity, of road traffic accidents.

“From our work with victims of road traffic accidents, we know how defenceless some road users are, and the devastating effects that a serious accident can have, both on the victim and their family.

“The difference in size and speed of a lorry compared with other, more vulnerable, road users, such as cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, is exponential. Unbelievably this appears to have been ignored. Once again, the government is looking to boost business’ profits, at the expense of other more vulnerable members of society. Families and the NHS will pick up the bill.”