SWINDON has proved that removing speed cameras does not increase the number of accidents on roads, the Government has said.
Roads Safety minister Mike Penning has come under fire from Labour MPs for ending funding for speed cameras without first making no assessment of the impact it could have.
Mr Penning said while no assessment had been carried out, road safety was paramount for the Government.
He gave the town, which turned off speed cameras in 2009, as the example backing up his claims the number of accidents did not increase if there are no cameras, when speaking to MPs.
“The truth of the matter is that some speed cameras do fantastic work, and some do not,” he said.
“In local authority areas such as Swindon, where speed cameras have been stopped altogether, there has been no indication of an increase in accidents since they have gone.
“It is for local authorities to decide, and we will work with them, but the public must be with them when it comes to speed cameras.
“The public must, whatever happens, be confident that speed cameras are there for the right reason.”
In October fixed speed cameras and mobile speed cameras were switched off for the final time across Wiltshire.
The new Government argues speed cameras are often seen as merely a cash cow and it was up to local authorities to decide how they wanted to enforce road safety measures. Mr Penning added: “The Coalition Government is committed to further improving road safety but it is right that local councils decide how best to tackle specific problems in their areas.
“We ended central government funding for new fixed speed cameras because we don’t believe we should dictate to councils that they use them as the default solution in reducing accidents.
“It is not true however that the Government has cut all funding for road safety.
“Rather we have removed ring-fencing from local authority grants so that councils are able to set their own priorities.
“We would expect that road safety would remain a priority for local communities and that local spending would reflect that.”
Labour’s shadow transport minister Andrew Gwynne criticised the Government policy citing RAC research which shows speed cameras save 70 lives a year.