Fleet News

Swindon speed camera decision criticised

Road safety groups have accused Swindon Borough Council of being “reckless” and “tokenism” after withdrawing its funding for speed cameras.

The Conservative-run council voted unanimously to withdraw the £320,000 per year funding from Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership from April 2009.

But the decision has been met with fierce criticism from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and Brake, the national road safety charity.

"This move by one local authority smacks of tokenism - and may fuel public cynicism that the priority is saving cash rather than saving lives.

"To describe revenue from safety cameras as a 'tax' is emotive, but not true.

"Properly placed fixed safety cameras are just one road safety tool not a substitute for active road policing or long term engineering improvements; they should be in addition to ‘cops in cars', not scrapped," said Neil Greig, IAM research and policy director.

Brake’s senior communications officer Jane Whitham added: “Brake wholeheartedly opposes this reckless decision.

"In removing its speed cameras, Swindon Borough Council is entering into a very dangerous experiment with people’s lives.”

The local authority commissioned an independent report, which highlighted problems with accidents at junctions, at night, among younger drivers and on rural roads.

“The Department for Transport Annual Report published in September also shows that nationally only 6% of accidents are caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit,” said Peter Greenhalgh, the council’s cabinet member for Highways, Transport and Planning.

Among the measures the council is considering are educational campaigns, the use of vehicle-activated speed warning signs and improvements to lighting and sight lines at junctions.

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