Councillors in Swindon have vowed to do away with the town’s fixed-point speed cameras because of a row over funding.
The decision makes Swindon the first town in the UK to completely get rid of the controversial static cameras.
Cabinet members of the Tory-run council voted unanimously to withdraw from the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership because, although Swindon Council paid for the upkeep of the cameras, central government kept the revenue they generated.
Peter Greenhalgh, Swindon’s Councillor for Highways, told BBC radio: ‘…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.
‘I can see that’s wrong and I think the people of this country can see that’s wrong.’
He said 70 people were killed on the streets of Swindon between 2007 and 2008, which proves that the cameras were not doing their job.
Hand-held speed cameras
The council’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean drivers will be able to get away with speeding in Swindon, as officers from Wiltshire Police could still enforce the town’s speed limits with hand-held cameras.
Councillors are also considering alternatives to improve road safety, including training courses for motorists and lower speed limits in problem areas.
Greenhalgh said: ‘We will be working very closely with our partners, including police in the road safety partnership to deliver a plan that reduces the number of people being killed on the roads in Swindon.’
Speed camera poll
In a poll for local newspaper the Swindon Advertiser, 60% said they backed plans to abolish static cameras.
The council’s decision is likely to strike a chord with disgruntled motorists across the country, who forked out £114.6m in speeding fines over the 2005/06 financial year.
But a spokesman for RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) warned today they would be ‘monitoring the results’ to see if any fatalities occurred on Swindon roads where cameras once stood.
He added: ‘Speed cameras have been shown to reduce casualties. If people think they are not going to get caught then those more inclined to speed are more likely to take a chance and break speed limits.’
If you think you’ve been unfairly issued with a speeding fine, read the Which? guide to dealing with speeding tickets. It contains information on your legal rights, step-by-step advice on challenging a speeding offence in court and sample letters that you can send to the authorities.
Some of the best sat navs we’ve reviewed come with a function that alerts you to the presence of speed cameras, which are often sited at accident black spots.
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