LOWER speed limits on motorways have been attacked by a Worcestershire politician who claims it could damage the economy.

Nikki Sinclaire, an MEP for the county, says reducing speed limits to below 70mph will “cost businesses money” and should be stopped.

Her opinion has been refuted by environmentalists in Worcester, who say she is ignoring the potential it has to save lives.

The Highways Agency is planning on reducing the speed limit on a 32-mile stretch of the M1 in Yorkshire to 60mph limit from 7am-7pm by April.

The agency says the move is aimed at meeting strict EU air quality guidelines, and could be rolled out across many other parts of the UK including the West Midlands.

Miss Sinclaire, who belongs to the ‘We Demand a Referendum Now’ party, which is strongly anti-EU, said: “We are proposing to spend billions on HS2 to speed up travel, yet we are complying to EU rules which will slow down drivers all over the country.

“This will cost businesses money, and will prove to be detrimental to our economy. 

“The biggest joke of all is that the EU claims that this is based on environmental targets.

“Since when did the EU itself, the institution that knows no restraint, meet its own environmental targets?

“This is yet another example of how Britain is losing out as EU members, and just another reason why we need a referendum.”

The Highways Agency is consulting over hte plans until Monday, March 3.

It comes despite the Government revealing last year that it could even consider raising motorway speed limits to 80mph in parts of Britain in the future.

Feedback from businesses suggest a rise in limits could help productivity by allowing people to get around quicker, but opponents say it would increase deaths.

Councillor Neil Laurenson, from Worcester Green Party, said: “I’m not an engineer but I know the slower you go, the less fuel you’re using and the better it is.

“With the amount of cars on the road anyway, are people able to do 70mph all the time? Whenever I’m on the M5 it often seems to be 40, 50 or 60 miles an hour. 

“If it’s going to save lives and reduce emissions I’m all in favour of it.”