A drop in number of people killed on Barnet's roads has been hailed as a vindication of Barnet Council's policy of removing road humps.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone branded Barnet a laboratory for ill-thought-out transport policies' during a very public spat last year with Councillor Brian Coleman, the Greater London Assembly member for Barnet.

The Mayor had claimed that the number of accidents would rise as a result of removing humps, and said he would support the familes of car crash victims if they chose to sue Barnet.

But Mr Coleman said this week that his policy of reviewing traffic-calming measures since 2002 had been vindicated. "This is total and complete justification," he said. "The scientific and rational approach has been justified. We did not operate by sticking a finger in the air it was a well-thought-out procedure."

The figures, released on Monday by Transport for London (TfL), show that overall casualties in the borough fell by 5.3 per cent in 2004, although this figure is below the outer London average of a nine per cent drop.

Mr Coleman claims the drop in casualties is due to Barnet's commonsense approach to traffic-calming'.

While the figures are being billed by Conservatives as a triumph for Barnet, the borough, which includes parts of the M1 and the North Circular roads, still ranks as the second highest for fatalities in outer London, after Hounslow.

A spokesman for TfL welcomed the drop in road deaths, but added a note of caution. "The borough has one of the poorest road traffic records in the capital and there are other results which give cause for concern.

"The correct way forward for road safety is analysis followed by appropriate action."

Barnet's policy has been to remove humps when roads are resurfaced, after carrying out analysis on the effectiveness of the traffi-calming measures and consultation with residents.

Mr Coleman, meanwhile, would like to see Barnet's policy extended across London. "Barnet is now the place to come to deal with traffic," he said.