The cuts victim that won't provoke any tears: speed cameras

To their opponents, they represent the evil eye of the nanny state, or at least devices to squeeze money out of motorists. To their supporters, they represent a key tool for ensuring safer roads. Whatever the truth, speed cameras are on the way out.

Twenty years after their mass introduction at the British roadside, the coalition Government is fulfilling a Tory pledge to do away with the yellow boxes which snap speeding drivers, by drastically slashing the funding that local councils receive for road safety.

Many local authorities will, the Government intends, no longer be able to fund speed camera schemes. The £95m that the authorities in England are currently awarded annually for road safety programmes is being cut by £38m.

Oxfordshire is likely to be the first council to close down its network and may switch off its 72 cameras as early as next Saturday, with other authorities likely to follow soon.

The road safety minister, Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead, was unrepentant about the Government's decision. "In the coalition agreement the Government made clear it would end central funding for fixed speed cameras," he said.

"Local authorities have relied too heavily on safety cameras for far too long, so I am pleased that some councils are now focusing on other measures to reduce road casualties. This is another example of this Government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist."

However, the decision was fiercely attacked by supporters of cameras as a tool for bringing down accidents. "Speed cameras are a really cost-effective way of managing speed, which is one of the biggest issues on our roads," said Ellen Booth, of the road safety group Brake. "To get rid of them would be a backward step and we would really be risking people's lives."

The shadow Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, agreed, arguing yesterday that removing cameras which had been shown to reduce road casualties was "a big, big mistake". He said: "Everyone who has analysed this has said that speed cameras have been an important part of the dramatic improvement on our roads. The carnage on our roads every year has gone down dramatically. It is a kind of a saloon bar view – 'These bloody speed cameras, get rid of them'."

But that saloon bar view – if such it is – has resonated with the Conservatives, who made a manifesto promise that no new cameras would be funded, and the pledge to "end the war on the motorist" was made by the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, on his first day in office in May.

One of the loudest complaints for motorists' groups is that the cameras have become revenue raisers rather than speeding deterrents; they allege that accident rates are not falling, although the devices raised £87m in fines in 2008-09.

One notorious camera on the A350 in Poole, Dorset, raises £1.3m a year. Anti-camera campaigners complain there have been no serious accidents on the stretch of road for a decade.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine