A YEAR since Swindon’s speed cameras were switched off the move has become a blueprint for other councils to follow.

This week Oxfordshire decided to follow in Swindon’s footsteps and get rid of the speed traps.

At the time Swindon Borough Council was criticised for its decision, which some people feared would make the town’s roads more dangerous.

Council leader, Coun Rod Bluh, still stands by the council’s decision.

“Our stance has been vindicated. We did what we did because of road safety in Swindon. We’ve been quite clear, we’re not against speed cameras, we’ve still got the police out with mobile cameras.

“Effectively it was about road safety, we were spending all our road safety grant on maintaining the speed cameras. When speed only accounts for six per cent of accidents. We began to question what caused the other 94 per cent.

“We’d rather invest in other forms of road safety. We’re not anti-camera, we’re pro-road safety.

“As somebody who has been banned for speeding, I take speeding very seriously. It’s not acceptable.

“The speed activated signs are much more effective, they are nine times more effective.”

Coun Peter Greenhalgh, cabinet member for sustainability, strategic planning, property and transport, backed the idea and agreed that removing the cameras had been a success.

“We haven’t seen an increase in accidents at those locations so in that sense yes.

“The money saved is purely for road safety. There were costs with removing the fixed cameras. We do still have speed cameras with the police using mobile cameras. Safety is still our number one priority.”

But the decision has not been supported by everyone.

Coun Derique Montaut, Labour’s Swindon group leader, disagrees.

He said: “I said at the time that the Conservatives’ decision to scrap fixed speed cameras was the wrong decision for the law-abiding residents of Swindon and I still believe that this is the case today.

“Last year I criticised the Conservatives’ decision, as I believed it would further encourage boy racers to be irresponsible in their cars and it turns out that my criticism has been fair, as Swindon has been reported as having one of the worse levels of speeding in the country.

“Speeding laws are there for a reason. I would urge Swindon’s Conservative councillors to review their decision to scrap fixed speed cameras and would suggest other councils look at the facts in Swindon before they consider the scrapping of fixed speed cameras.

“If Labour were in power in Swindon we would be addressing those accident black spots that the Conservatives have failed to address and would reintroduce fixed speed cameras if we needed to, because people’s safety is too important to ignore.”

A mother has called for the the speed cameras to be switched back on.

Caroline Hannah, of Old Walcot, was with her son seven-year-old son, Tyrese when he was killed by a speeding motorist on Drove Road in March 2008.

Caroline said:“I will never be the same. When you’re getting in a car you’re getting in a loaded weapon and it depends whether you’re going to aim and fire.

“The cameras are important because people need to learn how to drive properly and not speed and keep within the law.

“Speed cameras save people’s lives. Does anybody else want to end up in a situation like I’m in? I think that would be a no.

“It’s just one of those things that if you do the crime you have to do the time.

“If you’re going around speeding you have got to be prepared that there’s a consequence,” she said.