Just 1 in 10 speed cameras working

Speed camera sign on Blackpool promenade near the Pleasure Beach.
Speed camera sign on Blackpool promenade near the Pleasure Beach.
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THE NUMBER of working speed cameras in Blackpool and the Fylde is among the lowest in the country, according to a survey.

Blackpool has always had the highest number of cameras in Lancashire. In the most recent figures, the resort had 48 speedtraps compared to nearest local borough, Blackburn, with 31. Preston had just 15 cameras.

The study, conducted by Which? consumer magazine found only ten per cent of speed cameras in Lancashire have an operational camera inside of them.

The Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety runs and operates all of the speed cameras across the county, while Blackpool Council is responsible for road safety in the resort.

Carol Bracegirdle, Blackpool Council’s travel and road safety boss, has played down the figures and says it is not an issue because the cameras are swapped over and put into different boxes on a regular basis.

She said: “There are not enough cameras to be placed in every unit at one time. But there is no way someone can say this is where the cameras are.

“Every one of our 48 cameras will be active at one point, so from a drivers point of view it’s not worth the risk to speed.

“Since they were introduced in 2002 the number of deaths on Blackpool’s roads have dropped dramatically.”

Coun Maxine Callow, cabinet member with responsibility for road safety says the council are working hard to improve road safety.

She said: “It’s very important and it has been proved speeding kills and we need deterrents to stop people from speeding.

“What we are trying to do as a council is to cut down on the number of road accidents and fatalities.”

Figures across the country show other counties have a similar number of speed cameras in operation.

Gloucestershire, Thames Valley and Derbyshire, have 12 per cent of their cameras functioning, but Sussex and Cumbria have all of their speed cameras switched on.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has a group in Blackpool and the Fylde to teach drivers better roads skills. Chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “Cameras cost a lot of money to install and maintain and for that reason there have always been more boxes than cameras.

“A yellow camera box that has no camera is totally effective if it achieves casualty reduction.

“One which catches large numbers of people but doesn’t reduce casualties is doing nothing useful.”

Mr Rodger says just seeing the box is enough for some drivers to take care on the roads, regardless of what is inside it. But the boxes without cameras in them are set to stay that way as the Government recently admitted it would not put any more funding into speed cameras.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said: “It is for local authorities and police to decide whether or not to use speed cameras and how they wish to operate them.

“However, we do not believe that cameras should be used as the default solution in reducing accidents and would expect local organisations to look at other ways to improve safety on their roads as well as cameras.”

The Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety declined to make a comment.