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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 13:38 UK

No crash rise after Swindon speed camera turn-off

Covered up speed camera
The council was the first in England to abandon speed cameras

The number of accidents on roads next to Swindon's shrouded speed cameras is the same now as when they were active, according to council figures.

The five fixed cameras were covered in July last year after the Conservative-run borough council withdrew funding.

The council said it wanted to divert the money spent on cameras to alternative road safety measures.

Swindon's Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors said they would turn the cameras back on if they had the chance.

It really confirms what we were thinking
Councillor Peter Greenhalgh

Council statistics show there was one death and eight minor accidents on the roads in the six months from August 2008.

In the six months from August last year, there were no fatalities, seven minor accidents and two serious ones.

Councillor Peter Greenhalgh, who is in charge of roads at the council, said the figures were encouraging.

"The period has been relatively short so there is always a chance that there will be a statistical blip, which might actually be that someone has been killed, but so far it really confirms what we were thinking," he said.

The council was the first English local authority to abandon fixed cameras.

Mobile cameras are still used by the police.

'Encouraging boy racers'

Mr Greenhalgh said: "Speed cameras do their job; they take photographs of people who are breaking the speed limit, but road safety is a much wider subject.

"What we're looking at is how we use the funds we have to improve general road safety rather than that 5% or 6% of accidents are caused by people breaking the speed limit."

Councillor Derique Montaut, leader of the Labour group at the local authority, said: "This council, under Conservative administration, has ignored the safety aspect and given us a reputation within the nation as encouraging boy racers on our roads.

"I know the cameras are very unpopular with some individuals, but removing them hasn't reduced speed levels, it's increased speed levels."

Councillor Stan Pajak, who leads the Liberal Democrats at the council, said: "We still see the cameras as useful if they're strategically placed.

"Speed causes accidents and most people slow down when they see a camera.

"This data doesn't show any improvement since the cameras were turned off."

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