An attempt by opposition council-lors to 'call in' a controversial transport policy to review traffic calming measures on 600 miles of Birmingham's roads has failed.
Labour councillors, led by Ladywood member Kath Hartley, argued that the cabinet?s ?blue route? scheme - formalising emergency service priority roads and introducing a presumption against speed humps on them - risked road safety.
In a bad tempered transport scrutiny committee meeting yesterday, the move to call the policy in for further review was defeated by just one vote.
Coun Hartley said: ?We are not against the emergency services getting about as quickly as possible. However we are concerned about road safety.
?The way this policy has been presented to people, who have contacted us since it was announced, has been scare-mongering.?
She said the policy conflicted with the council?s own road casualty reduction target and also the West Midlands-wide Local Transport Plan, which provides central Government funding for local transport schemes.
She said: ?Only the emergency services appear to have been consulted on this, over a nine-month period in which we as a scrutiny committee have been kept in the dark.?
However, transportation cabinet member Coun Len Gregory stressed he would never agree to a scheme that jeopardised safety.
In response to concerns from residents and parents that some roads designated ?blue routes? already included speed humps, he said: ?We are not going to take out any traffic calming around schools. When we look at them, we may enhance them.?
Coun Gregory (Con Billesley) confirmed that all existing traffic calming on blue routes would be reviewed. ?We will not change anything unless it will improve the situation.?
Linda Morrison, road safety officer for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, urged the council to take ?great care? when reviewing each individual traffic calming measure.
?All it will take is for a traffic calming measure to be changed and a child to be injured for the council to be pilloried,? she said.
The move - unique in the UK - is designed to cut response times for the emergency services, which helped council officers map the entire 1,600 miles of road network in the city in order of priority.
After nine months work, officers produced a map of blue and green routes covering about 625 miles of roads.
Green routes are of a lesser priority to the emergency services, but they will still be consulted on potential road calming projects before they are introduced on those stretches.