Page last updated at 02:04 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 03:04 UK

Council ends speed camera funding

Speed camera
Wiltshire Police say they may rely on mobile cameras to enforce limits

Councillors in Swindon have voted to stop funding the town's speed cameras.

The Wiltshire town's borough council is believed to be the first in England to withdraw funding for fixed cameras.

The revenue from camera fines goes to the government which allocates cash to councils for road safety on the basis of accident statistics.

Councillors said new measures were needed as road deaths and injuries had begun to rise, but police said the cameras had helped to cut accidents.

The nine-member council cabinet voted unanimously in favour of withdrawing from the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership on Wednesday night.

The Department of Transport (DoT) said in the financial year 2006-7 it received an income of 104m from speed cameras.

A spokeswoman said it gave councils a share of 110m each year in grants to spend on road safety issues - allocated on the basis of accident statistics rather than as a percentage of cash received.

There is too much reliance on speed cameras to police the roads
Ed Smith, Nottingham

But Swindon councillors decided the 320,000 it puts into the partnership would be better spent on other safety measures like warning signs and street lighting.

They 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.

'Wrong' policy

Peter Greenhalgh, the Tory councillor who proposed the idea, told BBC Radio 5Live the current road safety policy was not working.

"The Department for Transport annual results - published on the 25th of September - show that, nationally, only 6% of accidents are caused by people breaking speed limits and yet almost 100% of the government's road safety money is being invested in speed cameras," he said.

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"I can see that's wrong and I think the people of this country can see that's wrong."

The safety camera partnership also includes Wiltshire Police, who believe the cameras have been working.

They say there has been a 70% drop in serious accidents in areas where they have been installed.

Mr Greenhalgh said alternative safety measures were now being considered, including driver education and reduced speed limits in problem areas.

And he said that just because there would no longer be fixed-speed traps in the town, that did not mean motorists could not be caught for speeding.

Wiltshire Police have said they may increasingly use hand-held, mobile speed cameras to enforce the law instead.

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

Labour councillor Derique Montaut told 5Live he opposed the decision.

"I think speed cameras locally, nationally and internationally, have shown that they're one measure - one of many measures - that can be used to regulate speed," he said.

"It hasn't always been popular, but it's proved, and shown, to have saved lives."

Police retain speed camera option
21 Oct 08 |  Wiltshire
Speed camera vote 'a week away'
14 Oct 08 |  Wiltshire

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