Govt evidence on speed bumps and pollution questioned

 

The Government's suggestion that councils remove speed bumps to improve air quality is starting to unravel after it appeared unable to provide evidence that such a move would have overall benefits and the UK's leading transport research body questioned its rationale.

Ministers' latest national air quality strategy suggests 'Improving road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow, for example by considering removal of road humps', as an alternative to charging Clean Air Zones (CAZs).

Last week, in a letter to environment secretary Michael Gove, senior figures from three campaign groups challenged Mr Gove 'to provide any evidence held by your Department that the removal of speed humps would improve air quality, and that this outweighs any possible public health disbenefits due to increased road injuries and fatalities'.

Invited by Transport Network to state what its evidence was, environment department Defra did not cite any evidence but stated that councils should continue to ensure road safety is not compromised by any changes.

A spokesperson said: 'Local authorities have access to a wide range of options as they develop plans to address roadside pollution in a way that meets the needs of their communities - both pedestrians and road users.'

Tim Barlow, technical manager, air quality and emissions at TRL, told Transport Network: 'TRL’s research has shown that traffic calming measures can cause an increase in harmful tail pipe emissions and CO2, with speed humps tending to have the largest increases.

'However, at the same time it is important to remember that reducing speed saves lives and speed humps are often used in residential areas with low traffic flows. Such areas don’t normally have air quality problems, so speed humps do not significantly contribute to the total amount of harmful vehicle pollutants that are created.'

”Local
Speed bumps are one way of slowing traffic

Mr Barlow added: 'Looking forward, it is important to find ways to simultaneously manage traffic speed and improve air quality. Traffic calming measures will continue to have a role for some roads and other policy interventions, including advanced traffic-flow management, promoting alternative safe active travel opportunities and vehicle technology advancements will all contribute.'

The letter Mr Gove is signed by Stephen Joseph OBE, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, and Roger Geffen MBE, policy director of Cycling UK. 

It says: ‘Local authorities should be able to demonstrate that any proposed alternative to speed humps is at least as effective in controlling speeds, preventing injuries and fatalities and improving public health for people of all ages and abilities, including children and other non-drivers.’

The campaigners criticised the Government for ignoring its own evidence that charging CAZs are the most effective means to address the issue.

Mr Geffen told Transport Network: ‘We don’t know what evidence Defra had that removing speed humps will be effective in tackling air pollution.’ He accused the Government of ‘ignoring good evidence on the one hand and a lack of evidence on the otherhand’.

The campaigners also argue that the Government has misinterpreted guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

That guidance advises councils to 'consider' both '20 mph limits without physical measures' and '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'.

It states: 'Because the evidence was uncertain they recommended these as actions to consider.'

NICE guideline committee chair Paul Lincoln said: 'The NICE guidance sets out a strategic range of evidence based practical measures to encourage low or zero emissions transport. This includes calling on local councils to consider different ways to promote smooth driving. Avoiding stop-start traffic has been shown to reduce emissions.'

Separately, TramForward, the campaigning arm of the Light Rail Transit Association, said it is ‘disappointed’ that the Government’s strategy deals only with cutting nitrogen dioxide from vehicle exhaust as particulate matter is also extremely damaging to health.

It said that while the proposed measures may well cut down particulate as well as nitrogen dioxide emissions, they will do nothing to tackle the other major source of particulate pollution – wear of tyres, brake linings and road surfaces – which has been dubbed the ‘Oslo effect’.

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Principal Traffic Management Engineer

City and County of Swansea Council
£38,890 to £42,821 per annum
You will enjoy an interesting and satisfying work-life with many opportunities to develop valuable skills and experience in the delivery of... Swansea (Abertawe)
Recuriter: City and County of Swansea Council

Refuse Driver (LGV Chargehand Driver)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22995 - £24258 per annum + plus contractual overtime and allowances
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This is a opportunity to be part of a busy, successful team mak England, London, Greenwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Principal Traffic Signal and ITS Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£40,876.00 - £42,821.00 plus annual standby allowance of £2,562.84
You will be responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of our Urban Traffic Management and Control System. Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Refuse Driver

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.995 - £24.258
The successful candidates will work anywhere within the Borough of Greenwich, work outside in all weathers, and be able to use... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Protection Group Leader

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£43,857 - £45,859
You will develop a strategic approach to deliver a service which promotes jobs and businesses, protects the safety of... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project Officer - Air Quality

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£27,741 - £30,451
We’re looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Customer Support Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£25,833 - £29,796 per annum
The successful candidate for this role will be someone who has great administration and customer service qualities, and... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Refuse Driver (LGV Chargehand Driver)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.995 - £24.258
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Citizen & Consumer Protection Team Manager

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£41,881 - £46,845 per annum
We are looking for a committed and driven individual to join the team.  You will manage an area team with... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Parking Control Design Engineer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32.430 - £34.794
We are seeking to recruit an engineer to join our busy and dedicated design team. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environmental Health Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33,600 - £45,400 per annum
An opportunity has arisen in the Health and Safety Team, for an Environmental Health Officer / Health and Safety Practitioner. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Cyfarwyddwr Corfforaethol - Economi a’r Amgylchedd / Corporate Director Economy & Environment

Caerphilly County Borough Council
£117,115 - £130,128 p/a
Tîm Caerffili-YN WELL GYDA’N GILYDD Team Caerphilly- BETTER TOGETHER Caerphilly (Caerffili)
Recuriter: Caerphilly County Borough Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,982 to £35,745
We have an exciting Project Engineer opportunity in our Boroughbridge Highways Operational office. Boroughbridge, York
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Asset Commissioning Officer

Somerset County Council
£30,451 to £34,728 per annum
Somerset is a great place to live, work and play, with a spectacular countryside and coastline Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Highway Development Manager

Coventry City Council
£48,545 - £52,090
Coventry is a great place to live and work and it’s getting even better - and having the right infrastructure is vital. Coventry, West Midlands
Recuriter: Coventry City Council

Noise and Nuisance Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£31,434 - £34,986 per annum
We would like you to have some experience in working in Environmental Health so that you can show an understanding of... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Service Manager - Engineering & Project Delivery

Telford & Wrekin Council
£47,853 - £53,792 per annum (including market factor)
Are you looking for a challenge and diverse range of work in your next career move? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Principal Engineer - Street Lighting

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
£39.880 to £41.881 per annum
The successful candidate will be responsible for managing, leading and developing the team to ensure the delivery, and success of... St Helens, Merseyside
Recuriter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Contract Management Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£22,183 - £32,234
We are looking for someone with understanding of Highway and Transportation engineering project delivery and maintenance activities. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Vehicle Technician

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,982 - £29,577 per annum
This position is a fixed term contract for 12 months with the prospect of a permanent role once the Class C Driving Licence has... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council