Have a Big Yellow Vulture fund for good causes

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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So, nearly 4,500 speeding drivers have been caught by the yellow vultures on the M275 in Portsmouth.

Tough. The cameras have been installed for a good reason.

They are there, monitoring average speeds, to protect the workforce and make the motorway safe for drivers in narrow lanes while work progresses on the £28m Tipner interchange project.

When they were switched on in March they were catching more than 100 motorists a day.

And there were plenty of whingers moaning about having been caught and the subsequent £60 fine and three points on their licences.

But we are pleased to note that the number of offences has steadily declined since March.

Nearly 2,000 were recorded in that first month. Now, that figure is down in the lower hundreds.

Inspector Steve Wakeford, of Hampshire Constabulary’s roads policing unit, says: ‘We can see there has been a significant decrease in motorists exceeding the 40mph limits on the M275 since the average speed cameras were installed.’

It is estimated that the amount paid in penalties is £270,000 so far – we have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the exact sum.

Building the new motorway junction is expected to last well into next year so there will, undoubtedly, be many more fines and the total will be swollen by several more thousand pounds.

However, it is disappointing to discover this cash goes into the coffers of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs where it will be swallowed up never to be seen again.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ring-fence the final amount and channel it back to Portsmouth where the offences occurred?

We’re certainly not advocating that this sum should go to Hampshire Constabulary nor Portsmouth City Council.

As happens with some elements of the National Lottery, worthy groups from the city should be invited to apply for small sums from this Big Yellow Vulture Pot.

That way the cash is guaranteed to go back into the community from which it largely came with tangible results.