No new speed cameras on N.Wales roads

Apr 4 2006

By Mark Hookham, Daily Post

Speed cameras on the A541 near Wrexham's Racecourse on Mold Road

THERE will be no new speed cameras in North Wales this year.

The decision comes after severe guidelines were introduced restricting an increase in cameras.

Westminster transport secretary Alistair Darling placed a moratorium on cameras in December saying safety partnerships must prove they were absolutely necessary.

But, despite the strict new rules, 23 out of 38 safety camera partnerships nevertheless convinced ministers of the need for more in 2006-7.

In total another 233 are expected to be set up across the UK.

But for the second year in a row Arrive Alive - the North Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership - will not instal any new sites.

Inspector Essi Ahari said: "We do not propose any new sites because there was no need for it. There was no justifi-cation for them.

"There has been no political pressure, internal pressure or external pressure (for the partnership not to apply for new sites).

"The fact of the matter is that cameras are working. Casualty and collision rates have fallen."

Ministers approved £3.2m funding for the partnership this year.

There are currently 13 fixed camera sites and 62 sites where mobile cameras can be used.

The partnership has a fleet of nine vans with mobile cameras.

Inspector Ahari said the partnership was running a Community Concern programme where residents could ask for the mobile cameras to be used for a day at known speeding hotspots.

This is the last year cash raised from speed cameras can be used to fund more.

From next year the cash will go to the Treasury with partnerships relying entirely on central funding.

And they will be encouraged to use road safety measures other than speed cameras.

Transport minister Stephen Ladyman said: "This will be the last year of the safety camera programme under the current netting off funding arrangements.

"The department has worked closely with the safety camera partnerships to help them to develop operational cases for 2006-7 which will ensure that all camera activities continue to contribute to reducing speeds and casualties and assist in the achievement of the 2010 casualty reduction targets."

Dr Ladyman said all new camera sites would comply with the new Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the Safety Camera Programme in England and Wales for 2006-7 which was published in January.

Safety camera partnerships expect to rake in a massive £120m in fixed penalty fines this year covering their estimated £120m running costs.

They also predict 300,000 motorists will be sent on speed awareness courses.