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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Drivers 'speed less' in Scotland
Car passing speed camera in Edinburgh
Critics have called speed cameras a cash cow
Motorists in Scotland appear to be getting the message on speeding, according to figures compiled by the publishers of the Philips Road Atlas.

Research found across Scotland the number of 60 fixed penalty notices issued to drivers caught by speed cameras had fallen by 21%.

The exception was Dumfries and Galloway, which saw the highest amount issued in the UK.

The 21% reduction in fines compared with a 3% fall in England and Wales.

The figures indicate the majority of regions in Scotland recorded reduced amounts raised by the notices in 2005/2006.

The partnership as a whole has welcomed these figures as they have generated a high degree of interest in our road safety campaign
Sgt Eric Dunion
Dumfries and Galloway Speed Camera Partnership

Dumfries and Galloway, the only exception, saw an equivalent of 6.55 raised for every man, woman and child in the area. This compared with an average of 1.42 per capita in other parts of Scotland.

The fines brought in nearly 1m in the region.

Critics have argued that drivers in Dumfries and Galloway are being targeted and branded the speeding fines a "cash cow".

Stephen Mesquita, who compiled the figures, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "In the case of Dumfries and Galloway, it has a very low population and some very busy roads with people whizzing through so I think it's a bit of an anomaly."

He attributed the downwards trend in Scotland to a "more realistic attitude" towards how the speed camera operation was run.

"I think there is a greater awareness probably among Scottish police forces that this is an issue that motorists find is very very big on their agendas," he added.

Operators of the Speed Camera partnerships said that a recent survey identified the M74 motorway at Gretna as the "fastest stretch of road in Britain".

Speed camera in action
The BBC's Phil Goodlad saw cameras in action on the A74(M)

They said that on roads with average speeds of 72mph, the use of speed cameras and fines were justifiable.

The project manager for Dumfries and Galloway Safety Camera Partnership, Sgt Eric Dunion, said it welcomed any publicity surrounding the issue of excessive speed.

"The partnership as a whole has welcomed these figures as they have generated a high degree of interest in our road safety campaign," he said.

"However, it does raise a serious issue in that a large number of motorists are travelling through our region in excess of the permitted speed limit.

"Since the start of the year we have had 57 crashes on the three main arterial routes within our region - the A74(M), A75 and A76 - which have resulted in four deaths."

He said all the agencies in the partnership were committed to reducing those figures through "education, encouragement, engineering and enforcement".

The D&G figure is described as an "anomaly"

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