Speed camera fund cut 'reckless'

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Speed camera fund cut 'reckless'

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:10 pm

Safety campaign groups and an MP have criticised a local authority's decision to stop funding fixed speed cameras in Swindon.

The Wiltshire town's borough council said 320,000 it pays annually towards fixed cameras would be better spent on warning signs and better lighting.

It has given six months' notice of its decision to the camera partnership.

Department for Transport figures show most collisions in the UK are not due to speeding, the council said.

During the notice period the cameras will continue to operate as normal.

Brake said it "wholeheartedly opposed this reckless decision".

"In removing its [funding for] speed cameras [the council] is entering into a very dangerous experiment with people's lives," spokeswoman Jane Whitham said.

Cameras should be used alongside other measures such as greater police enforcement if that is the right solution for the area.

Roger Vincent, Rospa

"Staying well within speed limits is essential for everyone's safety and cameras are an important tool in catching drivers who insist on breaking the law and putting lives in danger."

The council is believed to be the first in England to withdraw funding for fixed cameras, which are run by the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership.

There are currently three fixed-speed cameras in Swindon and 13 mobile sites.

The authority said the number of people killed or seriously injured on Swindon's roads had begun to rise in the last two years and new strategies were needed.

Peter Greenhalgh, the Tory councillor who proposed the idea, said annual figures from the Department for Transport published in September showed that just 6% of collisions had been caused by people breaking speed limits.

But nearly all the government's road safety money was being invested in speed cameras, he added.

Police enforcement

"I can see that's wrong and I think the people of this country can see that's wrong," Mr Greenhalgh said

Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, David Ainsworth, said the force may increasingly use hand-held, mobile speed cameras to enforce the law.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) said speed cameras in areas with genuine accident problems were part of a proven package for reducing road casualties.

Spokesman Roger Vincent said: "Speed cameras have been proved effective in reducing casualties and should be part of an overall speed reduction strategy.

"Cameras should be used alongside other measures, such as greater police enforcement, if that is the right solution for the area.

"If changes are made in Swindon the situation needs to be closely monitored to see what lessons can be learned."

South Swindon Labour MP Anne Snelgrove said: "I am on the side of Wiltshire police in this debate - they know more about road safety than Swindon's Conservative councillors."
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Police retain speed camera option

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:12 pm

Police in Wiltshire have said mobile speed cameras could be used in Swindon even if fixed cameras are abolished.

The town's ruling Conservative group wants to pull out of the Safety Camera Partnership in a council vote on Wednesday evening.

It would mean the end to fixed position cameras but Wiltshire Police said the force may enforce speed limits with mobile patrols.

The force would need to apply for government funding to do this.

In a statement it said: "The police are able to point to abundant evidence of the effectiveness of cameras amongst a series of other enforcement activities including education, and engineering solutions that do reduce the risk of collisions.

Speed cameras

"The Safety Camera Partnership within Wiltshire has a good track record of reducing serious collisions on our roads but understandably we will listen to our partners on options for the future."

If Swindon Borough Council's ruling Conservative group pulls out of the Safety Camera Partnership, the move would mean the authority could become the first in England to stop using speed cameras.

Cabinet transport spokesman Peter Greenhalgh has said he expected the move to be rubber-stamped on 22 October.

"The recommendation is for the council to give notice to withdraw from the partnership from April," said Mr Greenhalgh.

"It is in line with a Department for Transport report published on 25 September which said speed is only responsible for six percent of accidents," he said.

The authority said it spent 320,000 per year on funding speed cameras in the town.
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