Motorway toll roads, such as the one opened to relieve congestion around Birmingham, and to save motorists from the ignominy of having to drive through Birmingham, are to have speed limits removed from January next year.
"There are several reasons for this," said Norman Baker, the Minister for Transport. "Mainly it is because it is largely ignored anyway. It is the fastest motorway in England, with the average car travelling at an average of eighty miles per hour. Additionally, police cars that patrol them have to also pay a toll, which gets expensive."
Toll roads are often run by separate companies from the Highways Agency, and they have long campaigned for the speed limit removal.
"In effect," said Maurice Tackar, CEO of the Toll Road Consortium, "toll roads are private roads, constructed at great expense. We have asked that we are exempt from the speed limit. Our reasons are multitude and varied, but they boil down to our aim to speed people past Birmingham."
Tackar is adamant that the request has nothing to do with getting more vehicles onto the toll road, appealing to those people who like to drive very fast. Opponents to the scheme have cited safety concerns.
"Of course, safety of our customers is paramount," said Tackar. "We like to have repeat custom. We would not want to do anything that would jeopardise our market position."
Tackar has support from a surprising organisation, the AA, who have shown that there are far fewer accidents on toll roads, despite the speed that some vehicles travel down them.
"Looking at the accident stats," said Otto Mobeel, press officer for the AA, "toll roads have far fewer accidents than any other stretch of road in the UK. We cannot see any reason that this would change with the abolishing of the speed limit."
Norman Baker has taken the unusual step of ratifying the consortium's request to remove the speed limit. "With the backing of alcoholics anonymous, I can see no reason why not. Besides, it means I can get past Birmingham faster."