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Proposed plans for an 80mph speed limit on Britain's motorways gained momentum today as the Labour Party came out and backed the scheme.

Transport spokesperson Maria Eagle release a statement supporting the change in policy, which would see the current 70mph ceiling rise to 80mph as originally proposed by former transport secretary Philip Hammond.

Talking to the Daily Telegraph, Ms Eagle said: "We will not oppose an increase in the motorway speed limit to 80mph in certain circumstances, provided ministers drop their blind spot on road safety.

"The right way to implement this policy is to extend variable speed limits to allow increases as well as decreases depending on local circumstances such as traffic flow and weather conditions."

While the campaign to make the changes to Britain's roads looks set to move forward with both government and Labour backing, some driving bodies have expressed fears for road safety in the wake of the proposed changes.

Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns, said: "Hurtling along at 80mph will make our roads less safe, burn more fuel and make British motoring even more dependent on imported oil.

"With cash-strapped families and businesses struggling to pay soaring petrol bills it's a bizarre policy to be championing."

And with statistics revealing the vast majority of car accidents among the under-25s are speed related, young drivers could be on the lookout for car parts following prangs and scrapes following the introduction of the scheme.

Ms Eagle added she hoped to see the government reintroduce previously scrapped safety measures on the roads, and a change in guidelines that mean motorists will not face prosecution if caught driving at ten per cent plus 2mph over the limit.

"Any new limit must be strictly applied with no speed creep allowing the de facto limit to head towards 90mph."