Motorists paid out more in speed camera fines last year even though fewer fixed penalties were issued, it was revealed today.
Because more fines were collected, drivers forked out £114.6 million in fines in the 2005/06 financial year – 1 per cent more than in 2004/05.
There were wide variations county by county in the number of penalties issued and the amount collected, said the Philip’s Road Atlas company, which published the figures.
While some counties claimed 100 per cent success converting speeding tickets into fixed £60 fines, success rates for some were much lower, with Surrey only managing a figure of 47 per cent.
The money collected by Greater Manchester increased 43 per cent in 2005/06, while Derbyshire took 26 per cent less money.
Actual tickets issued varied from Leicestershire, with an increase of 48 per cent, to Derbyshire with a decrease of 30 per cent.
London collects the most
The most money collected was in London – £9.45 million. Dividing the amount collected by the total population put North Wales at the top of the speed camera fine table, with £5.82 raised by each resident.
In contrast, Merseyside residents paid out just 80p per head in fines in 2005/06.
The figures were obtained from the Department for Transport by speed camera expert Stephen Mesquita.
He said today: ‘Don’t be fooled by the good news. There may have been fewer tickets issued and fewer £60 fixed penalty notices sent out, but the Safety Camera Partnerships still got more money out of motorists in 2005/06.
‘At Philip’s, we find the regional inconsistencies very disturbing – – they undermine the credibility of the scheme. Wales is the speed camera centre of the UK. Mid and South Wales comes second only to London for raising money through fines. And North Wales raises more per resident than any other area, although some Midland counties, like Bedfordshire, Northants and Warwickshire run it close.’
He continued: ‘All this reinforces the motorists’ instincts that speed cameras are unfair. There needs to be proper control over some of the more camera-happy counties if the perception of speed cameras is to change.’
A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We don’t want drivers’ money – we want them to slow down. Independent research has conclusively proved that cameras save lives, with around 1,745 fewer people killed or seriously injured each year at camera sites.
‘A gap between the number of prosecution notices and fixed penalties issued does not mean large numbers of drivers are escaping punishment. Some drivers are offered a speed awareness course instead, have their cases heard in court or advise the police that someone else was driving.’
Fines per resident
These are the highest and lowest amounts of money raised by speed camera fines per resident in 2005/06:
North Wales £5.82
West Midlands £1.11
Greater Manchester £1.39
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