A GOVERNMENT proposal to remove speed bumps to cut air pollution from vehicles has raised safety fears across East Lancashire.

Environment secretary Michael Gove suggested the move along with phasing out diesel and petrol cars by 2040 has part of a package to reduce exhaust emissions.

Safety campaigners have expressed fears it could damage road safety especially near schools.

East Lancashire MPs, a head teachers representative, and Blackburn with Darwen roads boss, Cllr Phil Riley have joined the chorus of criticism of the proposal.

The plan aims to reduce exhaust fumes from cars slowing down and speeding up because of the raised bumps.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Speed bumps are proven to reduce the number of vulnerable road users who are killed or seriously injured.

“Local authorities must think very carefully before removing them.”

Haslingden High School head teacher Mark Jackson, who is also the North-West executive member for the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “I would be very concerned at the wholesale removal of speed bumps, especially outside primary schools.”

Ribble Valley Tory MP Nigel Evans said: “I am very concerned about this and it would have to be done very carefully.

“Speed bumps make an important contribution to road safety especially near schools and we should not risk one child losing a life because they have been taken out.”

Burnley Labour MP Julie Cooper said: “I am very concerned at this.

“Speed bumps make a big difference to road safety, especially outside schools and should no be removed when the contribution to cutting air pollution in the long term is uncertain.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen council highways boss, said:”I would be very concerned to see the wholesale removal of speed bumps which make an important contribution to road safety, particularly outside schools.”

Daniel Herbert, Lancashire County Council’s highway manager, said: “We have no plans at this stage to remove safety measures like speed bumps from our roads.”

He added: “Any road changes we make in Lancashire take into account the effect on road safety, people’s journeys and air quality.”

A government spokesman said:“Reducing roadside pollution is a priority for this government. 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.”

Alternative speed reduction methods suggested included chicanes and flashing speed signs.