Anger as speed camera reaps huge reward on ‘safe’ road

A ROAD safety partnership in Suffolk has been branded “ridiculous” in its approach after the number of drivers caught speeding at one location rose from 21 to more than 1,400 in the space of a year.

The figures relate to Henley Road, just outside Ipswich, and were obtained from Suffolk Police through a Freedom of Information request.

They show that despite there being only one accident along the road leading to a serious injury in the past three years, the number of people caught speeding through the use of mobile equipment went up from 21 in 2008 to 1,434 in 2009.

Terry Marsh, partnership manager for the Suffolk Safecam road safety partnership, said Henley Road had become a target area following complaints from residents and he reiterated that the partnership made no profit from the fines dished out.

The partnership, which involves the police, Suffolk County Council, the Crown Prosecution Service, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, HMCS and the Highways Agency, helps operate a network of fixed and mobile speed cameras around the county.

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Fixed cameras are located in known trouble spots while the mobile units are moved regularly. However, it seems the speed traps returned to Henley Road in 2009 much more often than in the previous two years.

Mr Marsh said: “Henley Road has been the subject of a number of complaints over the years of speeding and it’s one of the busy routes into and out of Ipswich, used by commuter traffic, which probably explains why people are in such a hurry.

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“It’s not been identified as a particular accident ‘hot spot’ so it is simply in response to complaints of a significant speeding problem.

“We can go to any site and when we start enforcing there is going to be a huge increase in the numbers.

“There’s no reason or motivation whatsoever to target an area to get large numbers of people speeding, other than to deter these people from speeding because it’s either resulting in a large number of collisions and injuries or because it’s such an issue for people living around the area that it’s affecting the quality of their lives.”

In 2007, 44 people were caught using excess speed along Henley Road and 41 were fined and had their licences endorsed while another took the case to court.

In 2008, only 21 people were caught but in 2009 the figure shot up to 1,434. Of these drivers 1073 had their licences endorsed and accepted fines while a further 44 were prosecuted at court.

Hugh Bladon, of the Association of British Drivers, said that he could understand the approach if the location was a known road safety blackspot, but the fact that there had only been one serious accident on the stretch – back in 2007 – meant there was no way to justify the “ridiculous” level of enforcement.

He said: “The first suggestion is clearly the speed limit must be wrong. If that many people are being done then surely it must be changed.

“It’s bizarre. I have never heard anything like it before, I’m flabbergasted. I’m lost for words as it’s not doing anything for road safety.

“It comes as a complete and utter nonsensical way of going about road safety. All you are doing is alienating the generally law-abiding motorists by punishing them for doing something that isn’t in the least bit unsafe. “It’s plainly ridiculous. The partnership needs to be disbanded as fast as possible.”

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