So the experts have finally caught up with what was already pretty obvious to those merely using common sense: Speed humps increase air pollution.
The BBC reports:
“The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said “smooth” driving would cut air pollution, linked to 25,000 deaths a year in England.”
Cllr Ralph Bagge, the Leader of South Bucks District Council, tells the Daily Telegraph:
“Smooth driving reduces emissions and stop-start acceleration and deceleration braking is harmful. It is putting out more through the tail-pipe but secondly braking is also grinding bits of very fine particulate matter which goes into the atmosphere.
“Where a 20mph limit is appropriate humps and bumps aren’t the most effective way of doing it because most people tend to accelerate up to about 30mph, hit the brakes and do about 15mph over the hump and then accelerate again.
“So in emissions terms that’s a very ineffective deterrent. We would say we would like there to be a better way of doing it than that.”
The NICE report follows an earlier one from Imperial College which “found that in one north London street with a speed limit of 20mph and fitted with road humps, a petrol driven car produced 64 per cent more Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) than in a similar 20mph street fitted with road cushions. It also produced 47 per cent more Particulate Matter (PM) and nearly 60 per cent more Carbon Monoxide (CO2) emissions.”
Another report from the University of York said humps should be removed from outside schools and playgrounds.
So what are local authorities going to do about it? It is not as if the new reports come as a great revelation – this simply confirms the well established evidence.
The BBC report says Professor Ian Colbeck, of the University of Essex, offers the excuse for council’s traffic engineers that the “plans pressured local government at a time of budget cuts.”
But while the disastrous policy of putting in humps is expensive, getting rid of them need not be. In Barnet it was done when road resurfacing was scheduled anyway. They asked residents who lived in roads with humps, if they wanted the humps removed - which they always did.
This isn’t the only measure that councils could adopt to improve air quality. Electric cars could be encouraged by providing free parking permits and allowing them in bus lanes.
Yet given the overwhelming evidence that humps kill, rather than save lives, is it not a scandal that so many councils refuse to get rid of them?