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Suffolk: Concern as speed cameras are switched off

09:00 14 July 2011

The speed camera on the A12 at Benhall

The speed camera on the A12 at Benhall

ROAD safety concerns were raised last night as it emerged all of Suffolk’s fixed speed cameras had been switched off.

More than £1million of funding for the speed cameras – some on key accident blackspots on the A14, A140 and A12 – was pulled by Suffolk County Council earlier this year and Suffolk police has decided they are too expensive to keep running.

The two speed cameras that still worked – out of nine across the county – were switched off on July 1, although the boxes are still in place.

But the chairman of Suffolk Police Authority has said she was “personally very upset” at the situation while a parish council said it regretted the loss of a camera on the A12 that had “saved lives”.

Suffolk County Council had voted to pull out of the Suffolk Safecam partnership in January. It stopped any funding in April and said it would cease speed camera operations by the start of July.

Suffolk police looked into trying to keep the fixed cameras running but said the cost of maintenance was too much, especially as many of them were in a state of disrepair or had stopped working. It said it had taken sole control of mobile speed cameras, which would continue.

But Joanna Spicer, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, said there had been “confusion over the ownership of fixed cameras” and that members had only been made aware of the situation at a meeting on June 24, days before the cameras were due to be switched off.

“I am personally very upset that this has happened. I would obviously have preferred discussions to have taken place before the cameras were switched off but I have been assured that mobile cameras have been redeployed to those areas,” she said.

“The police had already agreed to take on sole responsibility for mobile cameras, for which additional funding was needed through increased charges on driver awareness courses. Clearly we, the police, need to make a decision about fixed cameras.”

The matter will now be discussed at the next meeting of the police authority on July 22.

Suffolk County Council confirmed that “all assets and liabilities” relating to speed cameras had been transferred to police on June 30.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Suffolk County Council took the decision to decommission the fixed speed cameras on Friday 1 July due to cost-cutting reasons.

“The fixed camera sites in Suffolk were not taken over by police due the cost of their maintenance and, as a result, these enforcement cameras are currently inactive.

“However, a reduction in speeding remains one of our main priorities and we continue to deploy mobile speed cameras to hotspots throughout the county, including in the vicinity of the static camera sites. We also have road policing officers with mobile speed detection devices and Community Speed Watch groups acting as a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can speed on our roads.”

But the decision was greeted with dismay at Benhall, near Saxmundham, where a fixed camera with a 50mph limit was placed leading up to a busy junction on the A12.

Parish councillor Chris Durrant said: “We are very sorry to see it go. We feel it has done a valuable job in saving lives. While there are still accidents at the junction, it has kept speeds down and made those collisions less serious.”

SPEED CAMERA SITES

Suffolk had fixed speed cameras at the following sites, although surveillance ended at some of the locations some time ago.

A12 Benhall

A14 Haughley

A140 Coddenham

A1065 Brandon

A1144 Normanston Drive Lowestoft

A1304 Hamilton Road, Newmarket

A140 Brome

A140 Earl Stonham

12 comments

  • Didn't these things cost over £30,000 each when they were installed just a few years ago? What exactly are we supposed to do with them now? Suggestions on a postcard please, addressed to Suffolk County Council.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • brilliant news! time for me to set my personal land speed record!

    Report this comment

    Air Biscuit

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • About time, fixed camera's are totally the wrong approach to road safety.

    Report this comment

    Sam B

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • Having a speed camera that is switched off saves as many lives in accident blackspots as one that is switched on because drivers still slow down as they are unaware of if it's working or not. So congratulations all round for the sheer stupidity of informing everyone they are turned off - you'd better pray the casualty rate doesn't increase.

    Report this comment

    Ted Maul

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • The must be mad, giving free rein to speed maniacs. As an Essex resident, I shall now try to stay away from Suffolk as much as possible.

    Report this comment

    Boris

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • The fact the cameras are still in place means it will continue to slow motorists.... the only worry is there not going to be able to extract large sums of cash from the public any more.

    Report this comment

    Johnie Redwood

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • Hurrah, sense at last! Now drivers driving safely don’t have to be distracted by these cash-cows and get on with concentrating on the road ahead.

    Report this comment

    Mike Rotch

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • If the system had not abused the use of speed cameras in the first place useing them as cash cows, and only used for real black spots we would not be in this mess now.

    Report this comment

    sleepyhead

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • I do think the Conservatives have made a mistake in trying to please the anti-camera lobby. Let's hope it does not lead to an increase in accidents, with all the inconvenience, pain and anguish, that would cause.

    Report this comment

    EN Heath

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • While the fixed camera at Benhall may have helped slow down traffic approaching the Aldeburgh junction, from the north, this doesn't alter the fact that it is a very poorly designed and confusing intersection, and accidents have continued there regardless. If anything, because the traffic is slightly slower, any collisions may not perhaps have resulted in such serious injuries to those involved. Wouldn't traffic lights or a roundabout have been wiser at this very busy junction?

    Report this comment

    Chris Bayfield

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • Speed cameras do a good job when sited in the right places but Suffolk has abused their use for years.

    Report this comment

    G C

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

  • I hope that County Councillors will be happy to live with the consequences of their short-sighted decision. At the next fatal accident to occur at one of these locations, no one will take any pleasure in having to tell them "We told you so".

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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