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AA says local roads could become 'race tracks'...

As the effect of decisions by several local councils to disable speed cameras starts to become clear, the Automobile Association is questioning the government budget cuts which have prompted the action.

Councils began switching off their cameras in response to cuts to road safety funding by central government, but as residents in affected areas become increasingly alarmed by the degree to which motorists are speeding through their communities, the calls for a rethink are growing.

The AA has written to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond about the matter and is due to meet ministers. The organisation said: "The AA is concerned that the views of motorists are not being reflected accurately in this debate and that ultimately lives are at risk."

The AA refers to a public backlash against the switch-off, including in Oxfordshire where all 72 fixed and 89 mobile-site cameras were switched off on August 1. 

There, Carla Bramble, a 45-year-old housewife and lifelong resident on the A44 Woodstock Road said: “Cars used to slow down when they saw the camera and, because there is another one along the road, they would maintain that speed.

"But now they belt along the road as fast as they like. People have read the papers and they know that all the cameras are off. They know they can go as fast as they want on this road now, and that is what they seem to be doing."

Edmund King, AA president, said: "There is currently a road safety policy void which could lead to an increase in crashes. Locally, decisions are being made based on harsh financial reality, coupled with perceptions of what the Government's longer term intentions might be.

"Local people are more concerned about the 'battle to save lives' on local roads that could become race tracks rather than any 'war on the motorist'."