UK

AA warns: 'Scrapping speed cameras will risk lives'

Image caption The AA has warned that scrapping speed cameras could put lives at risk

Lives will be put at risk if councils scrap speed cameras, the AA has warned.

The vehicle breakdown firm says a recent camera switch-off in Oxfordshire has alarmed residents, and led to fears of an increase in speeding.

Devices could be scrapped elsewhere in the UK after the government cut central funding for speed cameras and reduced the road safety budget by £38 million.

The AA claims there is currently a "void" in road safety policy which could lead to an increase in crashes.

Cutting central funding for speed cameras is a central plank of the government's pledge to end the 'war on motorists.'

But the AA says the views of motorists are "not being reflected accurately" in the national debate on the issue, and that "ultimately lives are at risk."

Speed cameras were axed in Oxfordshire at the end of July after the county council withdrew £600,000 in funding due to budget cuts.

Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership said earlier this month that the number of drivers speeding past the county's deactivated speed cameras had increased by up to 88% as a result of the switch off.

'Harsh financial reality'

AA president Edmund King said that decisions to scrap cameras were being made based on "harsh financial reality, coupled with perceptions of what the government's longer-term intentions might be."

He said "people are more concerned about the battle to save lives on local roads that could become race tracks" than the government's pledge to end the so-called "war on the motorist" by cutting funding for speed cameras.

"Cameras will never be loved but their use is accepted by the majority of motorists. If cameras are situated in the right place, on the right roads with the right speed limit, they can be effective and will be accepted by the public," he said.

The AA has written to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to raise concerns about the issue.

About 6,000 speed cameras have appeared on Britain's roads since they were introduced in 1992, generating some £100m in fines each year.

The Department for Transport has said road safety remains a priority for councils despite speed camera cuts.

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