Merseyside to turn off some speed cameras

Latest local authority response to central government funding cuts

by Martin Thomas   August 18, 2010  

speed cam.png

Merseyside is set to join the growing number of areas around the country where speed cameras are being turned off because of funding cuts.

The Merseyside Road Safety Partnership learned earlier this month that it was facing a 27% cut in funding, but insisted at the time that it would maintain the same number of  cameras.

But the Liverpool Daily Post claims that, while all 90 cameras on Merseyside will stay in place, the number actually operating at any given moment will be significantly reduced.

The drop in funding means there are not enough back office staff to prosecute the same number of speeding drivers.

Dave Foulkes, manager of the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said, “We’re not losing cameras, we are maintaining our numbers of cameras. But if you lose back office staff you lose the capability to maintain all of those prosecutions. You cannot process as many, so you don’t deploy as many cameras. We’re not getting rid of them, we’re just not deploying as many.”

Mr Foulkes confirmed Merseyside operates around 90 yellow boxes and has 20 cameras that are switched between them.

The partnership had previously said it would maintain business as usual despite cuts of around £400,000 in Merseyside’s road safety budget this year – part of a national cut of £38 million announced by the Coalition Government, which also announced the end of central funding for speed cameras.

Nationally, road safety partnerships have reacted to the cuts by axing some or even all of their speed cameras. All of Wiltshire’s speed cameras will be switched off this year, while Oxfordshire's 72 cameras were turned off last week.

Dave Foulkes said: “Speed cameras are still a deterrent as no one will know which camera is active. Anyone who is thinking of driving through one should know it’s a risky tactic.”

Liverpool Green Party councillor John Coyne predicted the move would lead to more deaths. He said: “Casualties will probably rise. I think this is a threat to children and other vulnerable road users. Speeds will rise. I think it’s a mistake to fine drivers who break the law, it causes the perception that this is a money raising exercise. Their licences should be taken, not their money.”

6 user comments

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In three years' time, DfT research will show a marked increase in number of road deaths cos of this utterly barking bit of penny-pinching.

Cameras will have been turned back on by then, mind, because speeding will become endemic.

This Government's road transport policy is pretty sickening so far and is an example of how power corrupts. How else to explain the fact a LibDem transport minister could say on BBC TV news that restricting cash for speed cameras was part of the coalition's rolling back of the "war on motorists."?

Get ready for a "war by motorists" as speeds climb and climb.

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [108 posts]
18th August 2010 - 11:14

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In 14% of accidents on the UK's road network, speed is listed as a contributory factor. By contrast, failing to look properly accounts for 37% of all road accidents in the UK. The crackdown on speed did little to improve UK road safety according to all but two studies, and one was widely discredited while the other has been hotly disputed. A declining number of drivers caught under the influence suggests drink driving is reducing and this is helping to lower the number of accidents on the UK's roads year on year. The fact is, no-one at the DfT has a clue what the other factors improving UK road safety are. Research suggests though that the tougher speed enforcement was a waste of money - the DfT will probably never admit it but this is why speed cameras are being turned off - they don't povide good value. The fact that 37% of accidents are caused by road users not looking properly suggests that safety campaigns focussing on speed were looking at the wrong problem entirely. The DfT should declare war on SMIDSY and then we'll see some real improvement on the UK road network.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2194 posts]
18th August 2010 - 12:15

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Rather puts paid to the old story that cameras are a cash cow for the police.

posted by stever [51 posts]
18th August 2010 - 16:18

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"all 90 cameras on Merseyside will stay in place, the number actually operating at any given moment will be significantly reduced."

Thats a better outcome than some counties turning them all off, at least drivers wont have a clue if they are going to get caught or not, so more likely to get points if they do get into the habit of speeding again.

OldRidgeback - i do get the stats, but if cars are going slower or drivers are snapped out of their dream world by having to keep watch for cameras then surely that must have some positive impact on general road awareness. Unless of course you believe those idiots who say you have to 'stare at your speedo so as not to speed' totally missing the point that you can actually travel under the speed limit without being fined, its not a target! idiots.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [411 posts]
19th August 2010 - 8:38

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I don't want to sound pedantic but there's no such place as Merseyside. The county council was abolished back in the 1980s. The city of Liverpool is in Lancashire. The borough of Wirral is in Cheshire. Nerd

michophull's picture

posted by michophull [97 posts]
19th August 2010 - 11:01

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thanks michophull - such are the perils of editing Liverpool stories from Brighton Smile I've changed it to make sense (hopefully)

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
19th August 2010 - 13:40

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