A number of councils in England have revealed that they are to reduce the number of speed cameras they operate as a result of government cuts to the Road Safety Grant, which has been slashed by 40% following the general election.
BBC Newsnight reports that the road safety charity Brake asked the 118 councils that benefit from the Road Safety Grant how the cuts would affect their speed camera programmes, receiving replies from 42 of them.
Swindon Council switched off its speed cameras last year, with Oxfordshire County Council following suit in turning off its fixed speed cameras at the end of last month. Other councils set to cut their speed camera operations include Bracknell Forest, Gloucestershire and Kent, while Devon and Hertfordshire as well as Plymouth also say that their programmes are likely to be affected.
According to Brake, Bracknell Forest Council said that its decision would “result in less speed enforcement and education available but, regretfully, the manner and timing of the government's in-year cuts means the council's options are limited."
Chief Constable Mick Giannasi of Gwent Police, who is in charge of the roads portfolio at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), told BBC Newsnight: "Road safety cameras play a significant part in the successes that we've had in terms of casualty reduction.”
He added: "My concern is that if we stop using cameras… then there is an inevitability that casualties will start to rise again."
He urged councils reducing their reliance on speed cameras to introduce other measures to ensure road safety, but conceded: "It is difficult for local authorities… they are operating under significant financial pressure.
"I'm simply urging some very careful consideration - if they are going to reduce cameras, then they need to find an alternative way of keeping people safe on the roads."
Meanwhile, Julie Townsend from Brake told Newsnight: "We're desperately worried that we could see road safety partnerships shutting down around the country, speed cameras switched off and other road safety measures withdrawn."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.