Introduced in 1992, there are about 6,000 speed cameras across Britain, generating an estimated £100m in fines each year. Oxfordshire’s raised more than £1m in 2009.
The government says it is “delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist”, but a prominent road safety campaigner said that the effects could be disastrous.
A 40% reduction in central government money for road safety has led Oxfordshire council officials to recommend a cut of £600,000 in funding to the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership.
The body, which operates the county’s fixed speed cameras, says it will no longer be able to afford them.
All will be switched off if, as expected, a meeting of the county council on Tuesday ratifies the cut in funding.
The camera networks in Devon and Cornwall, Somerset and Northamptonshire are also under review after the government’s decision to claw back £38m from English local authorities’ 2010-11 road safety budget of £95m, and to remove funding for new speed cameras.
The money raised in fines goes directly into Treasury coffers despite complaints by local authorities that they should be able to retain the proceeds for spending on road safety.
Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said: “In the coalition agreement the government made clear it would end central funding for fixed speed cameras.
“This is another example of this government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist.
“Although I recognise that the reduction of the road safety grant means that difficult choices must be made, I would hope that councils will use the funds available to put in place new measures to tackle road safety problems.”
He had previously told local authorities that although evidence showed speed cameras were an “effective way of helping manage safety risks” in some places, there was overreliance on them.
Don't get me wrong, I am not against all speed cameras, but they have now profilerated out of control. We're told that they are only erected on accident blackspots. That is a patent lie. They are often located where revenue can be maximised.
I have nine points on my licence. Each of the three tickets was because I was driving over the limit in the early hours of the morning. A danger to no one - not a pedestrian or car in sight. I was doing 6, 8 and 13 mph over the limit. Yes, I broke the law, so yes I was quite entitled to be fined. One of the cameras (in Brixton) was probably justified in its placement. The other two (on a dual carriageway) were not. They were all got within a few months of each other. I now have two years of sweating over getting another one which would mean I would lose my automatically licence. All for straying lightly over the limit at 2am or 3am. That's not justice.
Last year Swindon removed all its speed cameras and according to reports accidents have not increased.
Last year, as a result of the ticket in Brixton, I went on a speed awareness course. (see HERE). They teach you all about the difference between driving at 30mph and 40mph if you hit a pedestrian. It had quite an impact on me and the other participants on the course.
It is actually far more dangerous to drive at 40 in a 30 limit than 80 in a 70 limit. For that reason I'd be quite happy to see cameras slowing people down in urban areas, but I see no reason to maintain the proliferation of cameras on faster roads.