More speed traps on the way


01 April 2006 08:15

Speed traps could be set in an extra 24 East Anglian locations, it was revealed yesterday, despite growing national concern about the accuracy of some safety cameras.

Transport minister Stephen Ladyman gave the go-ahead for an additional 233 new sites across the country in 2006/7, including 11 in Norfolk and 13 in Suffolk, while in Cambridgeshire two are being decommissioned.

Details emerged of the sites for both fixed and mobile cameras but in Norfolk only new casings for the two static units will be supplied and not the cameras to go in them.

Bryan Edwards, Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership communications manager, said: “We are not buying any new cameras. We will still keep our six cameras but they will now move around 20 locations instead of 18.”

Fixed cameras will be in Koblenz Avenue in Norwich's Riverside as a deterrent mainly to those in the 17-25 age bracket and on the A47 at Narborough, while mobile cameras will be able to operate in a further nine locations.

Mr Edwards added: “In Koblenz Way there have been 15 injuries in the last three years and two serious ones have involved pedestrians. They have all been speed-related.

“We welcome the opportunity to operate in other areas and hope to continue to reduce speed related accidents in the county.”

The Norfolk organisation came under fire earlier this year after catching almost 400 drivers in four hours, notching up £22,000 in fines during roadworks near Norwich.

But Government figures show nine people are killed and 85 injured each day on average on the UK's roads. They calculate safety cameras save about 100 lives every year by cutting speed.

In Suffolk, where there has been a 68pc cut in the number of crashes resulting in death or seriously injured casualties, the new mobile locations were first suggested last year but were put on hold until after the publication of a report late last year.

Michelle Finnerty, Suffolk SafeCam communications manager, said: “We have always believed cameras are an effective way of reducing vehicle speeds and associated casualties, so these results confirmed the work we do is an important part of cutting the level of death and injury on our roads.

“Cameras aren't there to catch people, but to remind them of the need to stick to the limit.”

While new sites are being introduced, across the country 30 will be decommissioned where road safety has significantly improved.

Groups that operate cameras, known as safety camera partnerships, must prove there is a clear need for casualty reduction at potential new sites.

Hand held cameras are at the centre of controversy because evidence shows they can be inaccurate leading to cases being thrown out of court.

Tony Vickers, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said he was “deeply suspicious” of the use of speed cameras.

“Even the government has finally admitted that mobile cameras are not as accurate as claimed. The cameras have to be kept absolutely still and pointing at an approaching vehicle otherwise they get the slip from the side of the van. If we are talking about the difference between prosecuted at 37mph and not prosecuted at 34mph it can make a big difference.”