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road safety partnerships shutting down around the country, speed cameras switched off and other road safety measures withdrawn."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.