Speed cameras will remain visible


25 February 2006 06:29

Camouflaged and hidden speed cameras will almost certainly never replace the familiar yellow boxes in the region, camera bosses have confirmed.

There are fears that motorists will see the return of hidden cameras after the rules governing their location and visibility cease to be enforced from April 2007, and that yellow cameras will be repainted to make them blend into the background.

Partnerships will also be able to install cameras where there is a speeding problem but little history of crashes as the restrictions are relaxed by the Department for Transport.

At present, cameras must be painted yellow and be plainly visible from at least 60m away. They have to be installed at sites where there have been at least three collisions causing death or serious injury and three causing slight injury within a kilometre in the previous three years.

But Bryan Edwards, spokesman for the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, said a move towards hidden speed cameras would be strongly resisted as it would not fit with the purpose of the fixed cameras located at accident hotspots.

No decision had been taken by the Government as to possible changes to the restrictions covering cameras and it was unlikely that the hidden cameras seen in other countries would ever appear on UK roads, he added.

"The board would have to take a decision on that and I am confident we would wish to remain open and transparent in all that we do to reduce casualties on the roads in the future," said Mr Edwards.

"In some countries they hide them in wheelie-bins and unmarked vehicles, but I would be surprised if that ever happened in this country. There is no point in doing that because that is not the objective."

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said in December that partnerships would no longer be able to keep the cash generated through fines to pay for more cameras and would instead get grants from a central road safety fund for new cameras or alternative measures such as new markings or humps.

Ian Bell, camera liaison officer for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "If a highway authority wants to install more cameras and they have the money, there will be nothing to stop them. They may decide to put cameras in places the criteria do not currently allow, such as villages and around schools."