Speed cameras for problem areas

THE number of speed cameras in Suffolk could be set to increase as transport bosses search for more ways to improve road safety.

The possibility of introducing average speed cameras in communities that are plagued by problems caused by high speed is being explored by Suffolk County Council.

But Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport, has played down any suggestion they will be used on every road in the county.

He said he was not keen for Suffolk to follow in the footsteps of other authorities - such as Cumbria - which have decided to adopt a policy of enforcing all speed limits, not just those of accident black spots.

However a report for the county council’s transport and roads scrutiny committee reads: “Following on from route/linear enforcement schemes we are investigating the potential for area or zonal enforcement for locations where communities are suffering higher than average numbers of casualties.

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“New, average speed, camera systems could offer a new method of ‘traffic calming’ for areas where rat running or anti social speeding behaviour is resulting in real problems.”

Mr McGregor said there was clear evidence to show that speed cameras worked in areas where they were needed - such as the A140 at Coddenham and the old A14 Haughley bends.

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However, he ruled out the idea that they could be used on all roads throughout the county.

“There is often criticism about excessive use of speed cameras and I have some sympathy with that - I travel around and in some places it seems you can hardly sneeze without upsetting a speed camera,” he said. “In Suffolk we don’t have that at all - our policy has always been concerned with safety.

“A considered location is important . I wouldn’t be keen to see them everywhere - I am aware of what is happening in Cumbria but I wouldn’t want to push in that direction.

“Obviously we will look at what they are doing. I think we can learn from them and learn from their examples and pick their best practices to get the best approach for Suffolk.

“At the moment our accident record is good and people know that speeding through villages is unacceptable. We will continue to enforce that. However I don’t want to be seen as targeting motorists - you have to strike a very fine balance. I think our use of speed cameras is sensible.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said a representative from the Constabulary would be attending the scrutiny meeting on Monday, April 19.

“Our priority is to reduce casualties on Suffolk’s roads and we are committed to working with our partners in order to achieve this,” he added.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said average speed cameras were becoming increasingly common in rural areas.

“We are pretty pleased with average speed cameras,” he said. “They catch less people and they make the road safer. It’s a pretty good combination - and they’re getting cheaper.”

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