Calls to scrap ‘cash cow’ speed cameras

A speed camera on Squires Gate Lane near Lindale Gardens
A speed camera on Squires Gate Lane near Lindale Gardens
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CALLS were today made to scrap “cash cow” speed cameras after the police revealed details of which ones caught the most drivers.

The figures show around 4,600 motorists were caught by 21 fixed cameras in Blackpool in 12 months – netting £105, 480 in fines.

One camera alone – situated westbound on Squires Gate Lane near Lindale Gardens – generated £26,760 after 446 drivers were hit with a £60 fine in 2010.

Police say the cameras are vital in reducing accidents.

But the details released today show serious accidents have actually gone UP at several locations since cameras were installed.

In Grange Road, Layton, four people have been killed or seriously injured compared to three people in the 12 years prior to the camera’s installation in 2002.

On the flip side accidents are down on the Promenade (near Central Drive), Dickson Road, Marton Drive, St Walburga’s and Clifton Drive North.

Richard Hook, of Devonshire Road, Blackpool, a former member of the Association of British Motorists, said: “It’s a tax, it’s a cash cow. The figures don’t show how many accidents there have been half a mile before the speed camera. Instead of speed cameras, invest in speed indicator devices – they do more for road safety.”

Coun Mary Smith, Bloomfield ward councillor, called for a review into speed cameras.

She said: “They are money makers. Blackpool is known as the town of speed cameras but the charges don’t go to Blackpool, they go to Central Government.

“I’ve been campaigning against them for a long time. There ought to be a review and some taken down. We don’t need them.”

In Wyre, the camera which caught most people speeding was on Garstang Road West, near Compley Avenue in Poulton, while Fleetwood Road in Greenhalgh hit most drivers in Fylde.

Drivers caught speeding can be hit with a £60 penalty fixed notice and three points on their licence or hauled before the courts.

But if they are within a certain threshold – up to and including 42mph on a 30mph road – they can go on a speed awareness course which costs £69.

Some offenders have escaped penalties if the driver cannot be traced or the vehicle has been cloned or stolen.

Supt Peter O’Dwyer, from Lancashire Police, said: “Speed cameras are really useful in reducing accidents on the roads.

“We want to change people’s behaviour and they make people slow down.

“We are determined to carry on with these cameras. ”

He also refuted the suggestion they are profit-making devices.

He added: “It’s not about raising money for the police. All the money raised through speed camera fines goes to the Exchequer.

“Around half of the cost of the speed awareness course goes to run the cameras and what’s left goes to run the packages from the road safety partnership.

“It’s not profit making.”

But Claire Armstrong, from SafeSpeed, said: “Speed cameras send out the wrong message. While people are looking at the speed camera, checking their speedo and then looking at the camera again, they may have missed any developing hazards on the road. ”