A DRIVING expert has warned that plans for two miles of speed humps on key routes into Wallingford will make roads more dangerous.

Oxfordshire County Council wants to install 17 pairs of speed “cushions” in Wantage Road and in The Street, at Crowmarsh Gifford, in a bid to slash air pollution by cutting town centre traffic by 25 per cent.

The council wants to install the cushions – small humps with space in the middle of the road between them – to encourage motorists to use the A4130 bypass, rather than using Wallingford town centre as a short-cut.

However Mark McArthur-Christie, a member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), claims that the humps will encourage motorists to swerve into the middle of the road to avoid them.

Mr McArthur-Christie, 42, from Bampton, said: “Drivers become so focused on getting their cars over the speed humps that they don’t notice people walking across the street. For motorcyclists, they’re downright dangerous, particularly for people on small-wheeled motorcycles, like mopeds, who get destabilised going over the humps and might not see them in the dark if their visor has got dirty.

“It’s simply unreasonable for the council to deny the use of roads to people by making them unpleasant to drivers.

“This is traffic calming from the dark ages.”

In 2005 South Oxfordshire District Council declared it would reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions –which are linked to lung illnesses – in the area.

Tests in Wallingford’s streets this year have found 50 milligrams of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air – 25 per cent more than European regulations.

Although there will be no cushions in the town centre itself, Mr McArthur-Christie said he feared pollution could increase on arterial routes.

He said an AA study showed speed humps in 30mph roads increased fuel consumption by 46.9 per cent, as motorists accelerate and brake.

Lynda Atkins, the independent county councillor for Wallingford, said: “I’m afraid the humps won’t deter people at all and all we’ll get is more people who are annoyed, rather than more people using the bypass.”

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “Speed cushions are designed to be easily negotiated at appropriate speeds by road users, including cyclists and motorcyclists, and are known for helping to maintain constant traffic movement.

“Local traffic has been identified as the main source of nitrogen dioxide pollution in the town centre.”

The public consultation on the scheme ends tomorrow. For more details,see the county council website.

Anyone wanting to comment should email andrew.madigan@jacobs.com