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More councils set to switch off speed cameras

Gloucestershire and Kent among those set to turn cameras off to save money

A number of councils in England have revealed that they are to reduce the number of speed cameras they operate as a result of government cuts to the Road Safety Grant, which has been slashed by 40% following the general election.

BBC Newsnight reports that the road safety charity Brake asked the 118 councils that benefit from the Road Safety Grant how the cuts would affect their speed camera programmes, receiving replies from 42 of them.

Swindon Council switched off its speed cameras last year, with Oxfordshire County Council following suit in turning off its fixed speed cameras at the end of last month. Other councils set to cut their speed camera operations include Bracknell Forest, Gloucestershire and Kent, while Devon and Hertfordshire as well as Plymouth also say that their programmes are likely to be affected.

According to Brake, Bracknell Forest Council said that its decision would “result in less speed enforcement and education available but, regretfully, the manner and timing of the government's in-year cuts means the council's options are limited."

Chief Constable Mick Giannasi of Gwent Police, who is in charge of the roads portfolio at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), told BBC Newsnight: "Road safety cameras play a significant part in the successes that we've had in terms of casualty reduction.”

He added: "My concern is that if we stop using cameras… then there is an inevitability that casualties will start to rise again."

He urged councils reducing their reliance on speed cameras to introduce other measures to ensure road safety, but conceded: "It is difficult for local authorities… they are operating under significant financial pressure.
"I'm simply urging some very careful consideration - if they are going to reduce cameras, then they need to find an alternative way of keeping people safe on the roads."

Meanwhile, Julie Townsend from Brake told Newsnight: "We're desperately worried that we could see road safety partnerships shutting down around the country, speed cameras switched off and other road safety measures withdrawn."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Kim | 13 years ago

Which other Laws is the government going to let us pick and choose whether to obey or not??

The speed limits are there for a reason and should be rigorously enforced. This really does show the lightweight nature of our politicians, just because a few of them where stupid enough to be caught braking the Law and were embarrassed by it, they have decided to slash spending on enforcement as they know that repeal of the Laws would be politically unacceptable. What price are they putting on the lives of others?

solentine | 13 years ago

A methodology developed 70 years ago?

What was the number of cars on the road then?

What was their average, and their maximum, speeds?

What was the social and economic demographic of the drivers, and the purpose of driving?

This was also before motorways. Original un-regulated roads with no central crash barrier. It wasn't long before it was recognised that the average driver was unable to regulate themselves safely, and speed limits and safety furniture was introduced.(see News of the World Sept 1963 for interesting article on demoned drivers!)

I feel times have changed and perhaps we need to consider improving road safety rather than hindering it.

Posted by owner of 3 cars and 7 bikes, who drives and cycles for work. I also live in Oxfordshire and know speeds through villages with trffic cameras removed has increased?!.

jcwconsult | 13 years ago

Prior to the advent of speed cameras, Great Britain used the proven engineering principle to set posted speed limits on main roads at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic. This methodology was developed about 70 years ago and tends to produce the lowest accident rate and the smoothest traffic flow with the fewest conflicts between vehicles. This helped to produce the world leading record of year over year reductions in the fatality rate per mile traveled. Britain COULD take a big step to return to this world leadership by returning to the 85th percentile method to set posted speed limits on all main roads and Motorways. At the same time, she could redirect traffic enforcement against dangerous drivers to improve safety, instead of versus technical violators of artificially low posted speed limits to produce revenue. Ticket revenue will decrease but safety will increase. Each governmental region in the UK must decide which is more important -- collecting ticket revenue or saving lives? I know how the Association of British Drivers and the US NMA would vote, how will the various UK regional governments vote?
Regards, James C. Walker, Member of the National Motorists Association (like the ABD),, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA (I am a very frequent visitor to Britain, my wife is from West Yorkshire.)

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