In the wake of the 2010 general election ministers promised to ‘end the war on the motorist’. It was made pretty clear that the use of fixed speed cameras was not the be all to end all in terms of speed enforcement. But the reality is that, two years, on, the majority of councils have retained their speed camera deterrents often to the same level of provision as prior to the announcement of the end of hostilities.
The RAC Foundation is today publishing data obtained using Freedom of Information requests to paint a picture of how many speed cameras there are in operation and where they are sited.
Of the 32 (out of 38) administrative organisations which have historically used fixed speed cameras, it appears that only three have abandoned them altogether: Avon & Somerset, Wiltshire & Swindon and Northhamptonshire.
The data shows that across England in 2012 there were at least 3,026 camera housings at 2,331 sites. (A site might have more than one housing, perhaps to cover different directions on the same stretch of road.) However there were only 487 actual cameras in operation, meaning that at any one time only one in six housings actually had a device in it. Of course the cameras are repeatedly moved about and drivers cannot be sure that any camera housing they pass is not operational. It shoud also be noted that constabularies and partnerships also rely heavily on mobile speed camera enforcement.
The RAC Foundation supports the use of speed cameras – as do some 70% of drivers – and is concerned what will happen as the existing camera stock, which are almost exclusively wet-film devices, become obsolete and have to be replaced by digital technology. Given that council budgets are being squeezed and a new digital camera will cost in the region of £20,000, clearly there will be some hard decisions for loca authorities to make.
The table below shows how the data on fixed speed camera provision breaks down by area:
|Partnership(1)||How many fixed speed cameras are currently (Jan 2012) operational?||How many fixed camera housings do you have currently (Jan 2012) in place?(2)||How many fixed camera sites do you have currently (Jan 2012) operational?(2)|
|Avon & Somerset||0||0||0|
|Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton||22||56||41|
|Cambridgeshire and Peterborough||28||50||50|
|Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington||10||42||42|
|Derby and Derbyshire||14||114||50|
|Devon & Cornwall||31||91||91|
|Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole||24||15||15|
|Durham and Darlington (have never used fixed cameras)||Not applicable||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Essex, Southend and Thurrock||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer|
|Greater Manchester(3)||Refused to answer||Refused to answer||Refused to answer|
|Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton & the Isle of Wight||10||42||35|
|Hertfordshire||Did not reply/answer||128||73|
|Kent & Medway Towns||19||78||78|
|Lancashire, Blackpool & Blackburn with Darwen(4)||31||282||282|
|Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland(5)||10||20||13|
|London||Did not reply/answer||652||526|
|Merseyside||Did not reply/answer||50||32|
|Norfolk||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer|
|North Yorkshire and York (have never used fixed cameras)||Not applicable||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Nottingham & Nottinghamshire||23||43||20|
|Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer|
|Sussex||Did not reply/answer||Did not reply/answer||59|
|Wiltshire & Swindon||0||19||0|