We can’t afford to have working speed cameras

The speed camera on the Eastern Road, Portsmouth.
The speed camera on the Eastern Road, Portsmouth.
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ONLY a quarter of speed camera sites in Hampshire are functional because it would be too costly to have them all working.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Road Safety Partnership, responsible for the county’s roadside cameras, said it was simply too expensive to put cameras in every roadside box.

The admission came after a report by consumer experts Which? yesterday revealed that just 10 cameras out of a possible 41 in the county were functioning. The remaining 31 were just empty housings with no working equipment inside.

A speed camera costs £30,000 to buy. The partnership said the camera technology was frequently rotated between the sites, meaning drivers would not know which ones were ‘live’.

And it said empty housings were effective in deterring speeders. Julian Hewitt, spokesman of the partnership, said: ‘Cost is always a factor, especially when there are so many cutbacks. Everyone is looking at ways of reducing their costs, and one of the ways is to not have a camera in every one. But cost is not what drives us, we want to reduce injuries and save lives, and we do that with a number of strategies, which includes speed cameras.

He added: ‘Cameras are rotated frequently and regularly and the public should work on the basis that there is likely to a camera in any housing they pass.

‘The presence of a camera housing should flag up to road users that the location has had a high casualty level.

‘If all drivers keep within the speed limit this will reduce the misery and pain caused to the victims of collision and their family, friends and colleagues as well as saving significant costs for the community.’

In the past three years there has been a 35 per cent decrease in the number of collisions resulting in minor injuries at camera sites. Accidents resulting in death or serious injury have also gone down 48 per cent.

There will soon be no speed cameras in Portsmouth after the city council decided to pull out the scheme saving £250,000-a-year.

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, in charge of transport at the city council, said: ‘I’m sure people will have mixed feelings about the cameras not being there.

‘We will be holding a meeting in March to see what we will do for traffic management in those sites.

‘This includes looking at vehicle activated signs.’