Campaigners 'alarmed' by proposals to remove speed bumps

Campaigners 'alarmed' by proposals to remove speed bumps

Road safety campaigners have criticised government proposals to encourage councils to remove speed bumps in an effort to tackle air pollution.

Under the plans, councils in England would be given funding to remove humps because of concerns that they increase pollution as drivers slow down and then speed up between them.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that local authorities should prioritise "improving road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow, for example by considering removal of road humps".

However, Living Streets, the Campaign for Better Transport and Cycling UK said they were "alarmed" by the proposals, arguing that removing speed bumps will do little to improve air quality but will reduce road safety.

In a letter to Gove about the plans, the organisations write: "Removing speed control measures such as speed bumps from local streets would be at best an expensive diversion from addressing air quality and at worst a dangerous and retrograde measure."

They point out that local councils have introduced speed control measures to make streets safer, particularly in areas around schools.

"It is not acceptable to reduce safety in order to improve air quality, nor is it necessary," the letter says. "Air pollution hotspots arise from high volumes of traffic on major routes, not traffic calmed neighbourhoods."

The letter goes on to quote the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), which recently stated: "In fact, well designed and well-maintained humps and other devices can smooth traffic flows and keep speeds down, which should improve air quality. There is a case for spending more on these measures, not ripping them out."

The campaigners also suggest that the government has misinterpreted guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

This guidance says that "where physical speed reduction measures are used to reduce road danger and injuries, consider using them to encourage drivers to maintain a reduced, steady pace along the whole stretch of road, rather than road humps that may increase acceleration and braking-related emissions."

In an interview with BBC News, a spokeswoman for NICE explained: "We don't say anything about ripping up road humps and getting rid of them -- we just want to promote smoother driving.

"Whenever we make a recommendation about considering any measures other than speed humps, the media reports it as us recommending getting rid of speed humps -- which we are not."

Dr Adrian Davis, visiting professor of health and transport at the University of the West of England, told BBC News: "The fact is, numerous studies had shown that unless drivers are forced to slow down by physical obstacles like road humps they will continue to drive too fast in residential areas.

"Scrapping humps without replacing them with some other form of physical measures would be both ridiculous and dangerous."

Do you think speed bumps should be removed? What's the best way of getting drivers to slow down?

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Posted 03 August 2017 by Jodie Salter

Tags: bumps, government, road, safety, Speed


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