Cash cow speed cameras to end
Dec 16 2005
By Tom Bodden, Daily Post
NORTH Wales police were told yesterday they can no longer plough speeding fines into more roadside traps.
Transport secretary Alistair Darling signalled a change in the way controversial anti-speed partnerships are funded.
He insisted from 2007, when responsibility for the schemes passes to the Welsh Assembly government, they will be integrated into "wider road safety activity".
Critics of the speed crackdown in North Wales said the government finally reacted to protests cameras were a "cash cow" to bolster Treasury coffers..
But North Wales Arrive Alive partner-ship project manager Insp Essi Ahari said last night: "It's business as usual. We are trying to reduce road casualties, and will operate where people are speeding and taking risks.
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"I welcome the changes, which are more relaxed and allow local authorities to spend the money on other ways of improving the safety of roads."
Mr Darling announced new improved signposting of cameras and said all local councils must review speed limits on A and B roads by 2011.
Instead of fines funding cameras, local authorities would get extra Assembly government cash for road safety measures.
An independent four-year study for the DoT yesterday showed cameras continued to have an important part to play, with around 1,745 fewer people killed or seriously injured each year in the UK.
Mr Darling said: "There are hundreds of people alive today who would otherwise be dead. But I want cameras to be linked more closely to wider road safe-ty."
The report found the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit fell by 70% at fixed camera sites.
After allowing for the general trend of improving road safety, there was a 22% reduction in personal injury collisions, and a 42% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured, figures show.
Figures obtained by the Conservatives revealed the Treasury made almost £1m in two years from fines in North Wales, even after the Arrive Alive campaign was funded.
Clwyd West Conservative MP David Jones, a long-term critic of the speed cameras, said: "I hope this announcement means the proliferation of speed cameras is coming to an end because they have done a tremendous amount of damage to relations between the police and public."
Mike Cross from North Wales pressure group People for Proper Policing (PPP) remained sceptical. He said: "They're still making money from cameras which do little for road safety."
Lib Dem transport spokesperson, Brecon and Radnor AM Kirsty Williams welcomed the devolution of road safety to the Assembly in 2007