A Highlands Labour MSP has called for speed limits for HGVs to be raised from 40mph to 50 mph on Scottish single carriageway roads.

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long-time road safety campaigner, David Stewart said HGV’s driving at 50mph are less polluting than those travelling at a slower speed.

At General Questions on Thursday June 7th in the Scottish Parliament, David Stewart asked the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, when he planned to publicise the findings of the A9 pilot HGV 50mph speed limit.

Humza Yousaf said the data was being evaluated and said it would be publicised later this summer.

David Stewart then went on to ask the Minister if the time was not now right for the HGV speed limit to be raised to 50mph on all single carriageway roads in Scotland.

This, he said, would be good news for the haulage industry, good news for the road safety campaigners and good news for the climate, as HGV’s driving at 50mph are less polluting than those travelling at a slower speed.

Stating he was sympathetic to the view taken by David Stewart, the Minister said other factors needed to be taken into account such as the uplift in speed being a contributory factor in fatal and serious road collisions and also the fact that the A9 HGV speed limit was part of a raft of safety measures along with average speed cameras.

David Stewart said later: “ If it is good enough to have an HGV speed of 50mph on the A9 then surely it is good enough for all other single and double carriageway roads in Scotland.

“Let’s be clear, I am not saying that all HGV’s will travel at 50mph along narrow twisting rural roads. All drivers have to drive to the prevailing conditions and the road conditions at the time.

“If it is only safe to drive an HGV about 30mph on parts of such roads, then that is the speed that HGV drivers will be expected to drive at.  Similar to all drivers, HGV drivers require to drive at an appropriate speed for the road they are travelling on.

“I am saying that if the road is open and straight and it is safe to do so they should be allowed to drive at 50mph as this will undoubtedly save tailbacks, frustration and adverse driver behaviour all of which also contribute to road collisions.

“That said, I am happy that the Minister has stated that he is sympathetic to my view and I appreciate it is all about achieving that fine balance as we strive to make our roads safer.

On 6th April 2015, in England and Wales, the speed limit for goods vehicles over 7.5tonnes changed. On single carriageway roads it was raised from 40mph to 50mph. There were no changes to any of the speed limits in Scotland at this time.