Number of motorists caught speeding in town halved... after speed cameras were AXED


It is over a year since Swindon became the first town in the UK to scrap 'cash cow' speed cameras after claims that they are a 'blatant tax on the motorist.'

It took the unprecedented decision to ditch fixed-point speed traps and end a constant flow of £60 speeding fines going to the Government.

And now it has emerged that since they were removed the number of motorists caught speeding in the Wiltshire borough has dropped by over 50 per cent.

The number of fatal accidents on stretches of road previously covered by the cameras has also fallen - from one to none. After Swindon scrapped the speed cameras in October last year, it was expected that many more towns would follow their lead.

And figures released yesterday are expected to strengthen the argument to get rid of them.

According to Swindon Borough Council, from August 1 2008 to 31 October 2008 there was one fatal and four 'slight injury' accidents on roads covered by the cameras.

From 1 August 2009 until 31 October 2009 there were six accidents - two described as 'serious' and four as 'slight'.

Explaining that the fatality made 2008's statistics worse, the leader of Swindon Borough Council Rod Bluh yesterday insisted this was proof that cameras do no prevent accidents or save lives.

He said: 'These figures clearly show there is no link between accidents and cameras.

'It completely vindicates our position. We are confident we took the right action in getting rid of them. It also clearly shows there is a revenue raising element in having these cameras.'

Last year a nine-strong cabinet of the Tory run council voted in favour of withdrawing from the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership.

The partnership, which had been running for five years, operated 16 fixed speed cameras, three red-light cameras and an array of mobile traps.

The idea of withdrawing was first mooted 12 months ago by Peter Greenhalgh, councillor for highways in Swindon, who branded the devices 'a blatant tax on motorists'.

It came after a change to the way fixed-point cameras were funded so that the Government got the cash from fines. After the vote Mr Greenhalgh said speeding motorists could still be caught by police with handheld measuring devices..

In the three months between 1 August and 31 October 2009 just 1,033 motorists received Notices of Intended Prosecution after being caught by mobile cameras.

But in the same three month period in 2008 when the Gatso cameras were in place the figure was 2,227.

The figures were released by the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership following a Freedom of Information request.
It claims the decrease in detection is not solely the result of the removal of fixed Gatso cameras from the Swindon Borough area.

Bron: DAILY MAIL, 28 dec 2009