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Road humps blow for council

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 22 July 2010

A COUNCIL U-turn over illegal speed bumps could see hundreds of drivers who have been given the hump claim compensation for damage to their cars.

A COUNCIL U-turn over illegal speed bumps could see hundreds of drivers who have been given the hump claim compensation for damage to their cars.

The Gazette can exclusively reveal that many of the estimated 1,600 speed bumps across the borough could be illegal - after Islington Council paid out £95 to motorist Michael Copsey because his car was damaged by speed restrictions in Roman Way, Holloway.

Last month town hall bosses insisted they were not liable for the claim because the speed bump - which was higher than the 100mm UK maximum - was not subject to the Government's 1999 Highways Regulations. But they were wrong.

But Emily Thornberry, MP for Finsbury and Islington South, who supported Mr Copsey's claim, has received a letter from the council admitting: "There has been some information which has come to light. After 1999 the maximum height of any speed restriction was regulated to 100mm unless permission was sought from the Department of Transport to have it oversize.

"In this specific case, permission was not sought and the height of the speed restriction in places was over the allotted height."

Now Ms Thornberry is urging residents to write to her if they have a "bonkers bump" on their street.

She said: "Mr Copsey's Mini Cooper was totally wrecked by the speed bumps which were too high. There seems to be a lot of confusion from Islington Council as to what the law actually is, which makes me wonder how many other illegal speed bumps there are and how many other people they are going to have to pay compensation to."

Mr Copsey, 66, a retired tree surgeon, of Liverpool Road, Islington, said: "I'm grateful to the council for looking at the matter further and finding that there were discrepancies. It's a big issue and other people who have had their car damaged should be entitled to compensation.

"There is a principle and it's an injustice. They earn absolutely millions from motorists so it is only right they should be brought to task."

Councillor Lucy Watt, Islington Council's executive member for environment, said: "I'm very sorry for the confusion regarding this speed hump. The information was given in good faith and based on earlier advice that meant we didn't remove over-height humps where there was no evidence of a problem.

"The reality is that this hump has been in place for a number of years and we're not aware of any other problems. I'm pleased to hear that we've settled Mr Copsey's claim.

She added: "We've already got a programme of putting in new, lower speed humps in the borough, and we're reviewing the ones which are slightly bigger - like those in Roman Way - to make them more comfortable for drivers.

"If anyone wants to let us know about any speed humps which they think are too high, we'd be more than happy to examine them."

The new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, and actor Sean Pertwee are among the Islington residents who have slammed the number of speed bumps in the borough.

Residents who think they have an illegal speed bump on their street can write to Ms Thornberry at the House of Commons or email emilythornberrymp@parliament.uk.


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