Speed cameras will stay on despite cutbacksBy Victoria Corbett
May 19, 2011
Speed cameras are to remain switched on in the borough, despite drastic funding cuts.
Transport bosses at Wokingham Borough Council working with the Safer Roads partnership have ruled speeding enforcement is too crucial to be cut, despite a swingeing reduction in Government funding for road safety projects.
The new Safer Roads partnership was launched in April after the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership was disbanded because it had lost funding from Oxfordshire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire.
In order to maintain the critical road safety schemes, cuts have been made in other areas, such as marketing, with some campaigns being streamlined.
Only the six unitary authorities in Berkshire remain involved in the partnership, although all have made dramatic cuts to their funding for roads safety schemes due to Government funding losses.
Wokingham Borough Council is providing £36,000 over the next year for Safer Roads, down from an average of £187,000 a year between 2007 and 2011 – a reduction of around 80 per cent.
Thames Valley Police is no longer providing funding to the partnership, however Safer Roads will work with officers on enforcement operations and still target high risk groups, such as motorcyclists.
Dan Campsall, spokesman for Safer Roads, said: “For years we have been working in partnership because it offers the opportunity to use a wider range of skills in developing more effective
“Safer Roads will continue the great work that has been going on in recent years because every road death is a tragedy, and we must do all we can to prevent them in future.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s cuts to the then-Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership last year led to speed cameras being switched off in the area.
However, they were reactivated on April 1 this year by Thames Valley Police, after speeding and injury collisions increased in the county.
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and corporate affairs at Wokingham council, said: “Funding from the council to Safer Roads has been greatly reduced.
“What they are providing is still very very beneficial for the safety of our residents on the roads.
“Speed cameras are still on and there is no drive whatsoever to remove or reduce the number of speed cameras, because they do have an impact on improving safety.
“If anything, we would like a few more in a couple of strategic areas.”
Mr Campsall added Safer Roads will be taking part in a safer roads event in Wokingham town centre on Wednesday, June 1, where firefighters will bring along a wrecked vehicle and information will be given out to shoppers to raise awareness.
Mr Campsall said of the Safer Roads’ future work: “We do an awful lot of analysis of road risk. The people of Wokingham are our concern, it doesn’t matter if they crash in Wokingham or over the border in
Reading or on holiday abroad.
“We will be looking at all Wokingham people and find what are the risk factors and how we communicate with them to keep them safe.”
The Safer Roads website – www.saferroads.org – provides information on where speed cameras are located and where accidents have taken place in recent years.