The move follows July’s announcement that the single carriageway speed limit will rise from 40mph to 50mph.
Both increases will come into effect from 6 April 2015 and are being described by transport minister Claire Perry as a modernisation of outdated legislation from the 1980s.
“It is really important that speed limits for lorries reflect the needs of a modern transport network and improved vehicle technology,” she said.
“Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and I am determined to ensure this continues.
“This change is about ensuring rules for lorry drivers’ speed limits are in line with other larger vehicles on our roads, creating a fairer and more proportionate system.”
Road safety charity the IAM welcomed the change. Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at the IAM, said: “Driver awareness is the key if this policy is to deliver safer roads. There is widespread ignorance about current speed limits leading to frustration and road rage as platoons build up behind lorries being driven legally.
“The new limits should reduce stress and ease bad overtaking.This has been proven in the first few months of higher limits on the A9 in Scotland.”
56mph not 60mph
However, European Union legislation means the effective speed limit increase won’t actually be quite as impressive as it first seems: lorries are limited to 56mph by EU law.
The new change does instead mean that lorries will be able to legally drive at the same limited speed as other large vehicles, rather than at a small and frustrating speed differential: it’s this difference, and the resulting slow overtaking of HGVs on dual carriageways, that the government is attempting to tackle with the new rules.