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Speed cameras will stay in Gloucestershire - but no more maintenance

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: August 03, 2010

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Low maintenance: Speed cameras

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SPEED cameras in Gloucestershire will not be switched off – but highway bosses say maintenance will become less frequent.

As Oxfordshire's speed cameras were turned off to save cash, Gloucestershire County Council confirmed the county's 28 cameras would remain in action.

The cameras were due to be updated to a new digital format, but after cuts of £7million were imposed by the coalition Government, the council was forced to abandon the plan.

Now, the cameras will carry on flashing speeding motorists – but the films may not be changed as often as before.

Mark Hawthorne, leader of the council, said no new investment in speed cameras will save more than £300,000.

"We have had to make decisions about where we make savings," he said.

"From now on there will be no new investment in speed cameras in Gloucestershire and a review of how camera enforcement operates is planned. This will save £363,000 this year. The existing network will continue to operate but cameras will be refilled less frequently."

The decision by councils across the UK and central Government to slash funding for the controversial devices has been slammed by road safety campaigners nationwide.

Kate Tucker, of Wotton-under-Edge, has spent many years campaigning for safer roads following the death of her husband Ken Delaney, 44, in Claypits, near Eastington, in 2002.

Kate said: "I think they should keep the cameras going as long as possible in Gloucestershire.

"I'll say what I've said before, I think they're useful and I think they do save lives, so I think they should maintain them as long as they can."

Under the terms of the new budget, the road safety grant for 2010 to 2011 has been slashed by 40 per cent.

Crucially, the capital grant – a £17.2million annual fund that typically pays for the cameras – has also been abolished in the budget.

With few other ways of funding the cameras – as the fines from speeding go to the Treasury – councils would have to pay using revenue earmarked for schools and other projects.

In the case of Oxfordshire, the county council axed its £600,000 grant to the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership in a bid to find £1million in savings.

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    James, Glos  |  August 04 2010, 4:40PM

    Chris, your opinions may well be correct, who knows?, but my comment was motivated by a frustration towards people who make outlandish claims about what has been proved by statistics.

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    paul, chelt  |  August 04 2010, 12:54PM

    So if I read that correctly, this is an announcement to anyone that wants to cut down all the speed cameras, that they can, and the council will not be able to afford to replace them. I cannot believe they announced it.

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    Chris, Gloucester  |  August 04 2010, 12:31AM

    Well James, A 38% drop in collisions in the Thames Valley region? Great, but was it down to cameras or perhap just increased congestion grinding everything to a halt. I don't know but I do know cameras don't actually physically keep traffic within the limit. They just penalise offenders on a zero tolerance basis with no allowance for circumstances. Don't get me wrong I'm not for a no limit free for all just a bit of flexibility based on the road conditions, traffic levels etc etc at the time. It's quite possible that a limit below that set is sometimes appropriate, ice covered road for example. A camera can't address that but a Policeman on the spot can. Also although an important factor speed is not the only cause of road fatalities. Cameras don't catch tail gaters or drivers under the infuence of drink or drugs but a Policeman on the spot has a better chance. I'll stick by what I said cameras are not a road safety panacea, they are perceived as stealthy tax and the sooner we get rid of them in favour of better road safety measures people have confidence in the better.

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    James, Glos  |  August 03 2010, 3:58PM

    Chris wrote"Statistics show no difference in the accident rates on any given road if they are present or not." Any given road ey Chris? Does that include the roads in Thames Valley where the BBC says that "at the 212 fixed camera sites across the wider Thames Valley region - which also includes Buckinghamshire and Berkshire - there was a 38% drop in vehicle collisions."

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    Chris, Gloucester  |  August 03 2010, 11:47AM

    Very sorry for Kate Tucker's lost. I'm also all in favour of safer roads but speed cameras are not and never will be the road safety panacea they are perceived by some to be A few mph over an arbitrarily set limit is only one of many factors. We should be more concerned about the reduction in visible Police presence on our roads we've seen since cameras became fashionable. This is a factor far more relevant to road safety than these cameras. Police on the ground can address all issues of road safety. Cameras have now become regarded by most drivers as stealth tax. Statistics show no difference in the accident rates on any given road if they are present or not. If they really made a difference so many local authorities would not be so ready to get rid of them, wherever the money collected in fines goes. Bring back the patrol car and give us really safer roads, and good riddance to tax cameras.

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