Speed camera plan for A12

SPEED cameras are to be deployed on one of the region's busiest dual carriageways for the first time, the EADT can reveal.The organisation responsible for Essex speed cameras last night confirmed a 1.

SPEED cameras are to be deployed on one of the region's busiest dual carriageways for the first time, the EADT can reveal.

The organisation responsible for Essex speed cameras last night confirmed a 1.5mile stretch of the A12 had now met its controversial qualifying criteria – allowing deployment within weeks.

A sign warning drivers of looming speed traps has just been erected alongside the busy road near Kelvedon and more will follow in the next few days.

Although cameras have been used during temporary roadworks on the A12 in the past, it will be the first time they have been deployed on a 70mph road anywhere in Essex.

The mobile cameras, which will be operated from the Maldon Road bridge, near the Little Chef on the northbound carriageway at Kelvedon, are expected to be in use from April.

However, the move by the Essex Safety Camera Partnership was last night criticised by the Association British Drivers, which labelled the new deployments as “yet another scam”.

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Camera bosses raised deep concerns about speed on the A12 more than a year ago and commissioned a series of surveys.

During the last three years, one person has been killed and four seriously injured in 19 collisions on a 2km stretch prior to the Maldon Road bridge northbound.

As traffic monitoring on January 13 last year revealed 40% of vehicles exceeded the 70mph limit - and 15% travelled more than 79mph – the criteria for cameras were met.

The Highways Agency was asked if it could do any engineering work to make the road safer, but they said that was not possible.

Surveys at other A12 sites did not meet qualifying criteria.

Nigel Humphries, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said: “Essex already has the highest number of speed cameras in Britain – this is yet another scam against drivers.”

He said there was proof cameras did not reduce accidents and claimed using them on a busy 70mph dual carriageway may prove dangerous if motorists brake sharply as they approach the cameras and take their eyes off the road.

Mr Humphries added: “But I'm sure the Essex partnership will be pleased as they'll rake in thousands from drivers who do not even live in the county and who will not make a huge fuss complaining.

“They cite all these previous fatalities and serious accidents, but they never tell you how many are due to speed.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Safety Camera Partnership was not able to confirm the cause of the accidents, but said she would investigate.

She added: “We found this stretch met the criteria for mobile safety cameras and our recommended guidelines suggest we erect signs to warn motorists in advance that cameras will be operating.

“Obviously it will be too dangerous to operate the cameras from the side of the road, so officers will park up on the Maldon Road over-bridge and work from there.

“We've had a number of requests for people to slow down. Drivers keeping within the speed limit have nothing to worry about.

“This is in effect a trial for us. It'll be the first time we've had cameras on a 70mph road anywhere in Essex.

“We do not have any plans for fixed cameras anywhere on the 70mph part of the A12.”

“Cameras do work and they will be a deterrent for people to slow down – we don't want to fine anybody.”

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We will carry out major resurfacing and other work on that stretch, but no date has yet been set.”

*The EADT publishes a weekly list of where mobile speed cameras will be deployed in Essex every Monday.

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