Speed camera FOI data 10 Jul 2012

English councils keep commitment to speed camera deterrent despite funding cuts

Two years after the Government announced major cuts in road safety funding, figures suggest fixed speed cameras continue to be used in most areas of England.

Data obtained following Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that in England there are currently:

  • 2,331 fixed speed camera sites
  • 3,026 fixed speed camera housings
  • 487 operational fixed cameras

A site is a single geographical location at which there might be more than one housing facing - for example - in different directions down a stretch of road.

Of the 38 organisations approached with FOI requests by the RAC Foundation four refused to answer any questions, while two others – Durham and Darlington, and North Yorkshire and York – have never used fixed speed cameras.

Of the 32 administrative bodies which did use fixed speed cameras and did respond, ten said they had made no change to the level of provision of sites, housings and cameras since 2010. Several others registered only small changes in provision over the past two years.

The biggest changes have been seen in Avon & Somerset, Northamptonshire and Wiltshire & Swindon where all operational cameras were switched off.

Despite an overall picture of continuing fixed speed camera operations, concern was raised by a number of those questioned about how the money would be found to replace increasingly obsolete wet-film cameras – those relying on old-style photographic film instead of digital technology – with new equipment.

One estimate is that an appropriate type-approved digital camera to replace a wet-film camera will cost in the region of £20,000.

Commenting on the figures, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Many people believe there has been a mass switch-off of cameras over the past couple of years. But the data shows that, overall, this is simply not true.

“The RAC Foundation’s best evidence is that if all speed cameras were turned off around 80 more people would be killed on the roads each year with 700 others seriously injured. Therefore we welcome these figures which suggest the majority of fixed cameras have been retained and housings are being kept in place to act as a deterrent.

“Although there are many more housings than cameras, it seems that the cameras are regularly rotated between them ensuring there is some level of positive enforcement at most sites. It is also important to note that many police constabularies rely heavily on mobile cameras to catch law breakers and in many cases have now have an increased emphasis on this type of operation.

“We are concerned funds won’t be available to purchase new equipment to replace increasingly antiquated film cameras. There is a lack of money for all aspects of road safety and we urge councillors to allocate adequate budgets to protect people on the roads by whatever means is appropriate. Recent figures showing that deaths on the road rose in 2011, for the first time since 2003, only reinforce the need to retain the focus on road safety.”

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications:

 Philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN) | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation which explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

In June 2010, the Road Safety Minister Mike Penning wrote to all local authorities to say:

“After this financial year, we will be ending the discrete road safety capital grant, which has been closely associated with paying for new speed cameras.  We will also be reviewing the future arrangements for resource support to local authorities, as part of a wider planned rationalisation of funding support to local authorities.”

The FOI requests were made between December 2011 and January 2012 and responded to thereafter.

Details of the 38 organisations we approached for data came from the Department for Transport:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/fixed-speed-camera-data-sources/fixed-speed-camera-data-sources.pdf

The full list of data obtained under the FOI requests is available at:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/speed_camera_foi_data_for_publication.pdf

In November 2010 the RAC Foundation published a report called The Effectiveness of Speed Cameras: a review of evidence by Professor Richard Allsop. This is available at www.racfoundation.org

PLEASE NOTE: In the table below comparisons between annual cumulative totals are difficult to make because, while some partnerships were able to provide like for like data for both years, others were not.

 

2010

2012

 

Partnership(1)

How many fixed speed cameras did you have operational in June 2010?     

How many fixed camera housings did you have in place in June 2010?

How many fixed camera sites did you have operational in June 2010?

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)

Data Provider(s)

Avon & Somerset

Did not reply/answer

22

22

0

0

0

Somerset CC

Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton

22

56

41

22

56

41

Bedfordshire Police

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

28

50

50

28

50

50

Cambridgeshire &  Peterborough RSP, Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington

11

42

42

10

42

42

Cheshire Police

Cleveland

0

3

3

0

3

3

Cleveland Police

Cumbria

12

12

12

12

12

12

Cumbria Constabulary

Derby and Derbyshire

14

117

50

14

114

50

Derby & Derbyshire RSP

Devon & Cornwall

32

92

92

31

91

91

Devon & Cornwall SCP

Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole

24

37

37

24

15

15

Dorset Police

Durham and Darlington (have never used fixed cameras)

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

-

Essex, Southend and Thurrock

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

-

Gloucestershire

4

26

23

4

25

22

Gloucestershire CC

Greater Manchester(3)

Refused to answer

Refused to answer

Refused to answer

Refused to answer

Refused to answer

Refused to answer

Greater Manchester Police

Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton & the Isle of Wight

10

42

35

10

42

35

Hampshire Constabulary

Hertfordshire

Did not reply/answer

123

71

Did not reply/answer

128

73

Hertfordshire CC

Humberside

9

22

7

9

22

7

Safer Roads Humber

Kent & Medway Towns

21

78

78

19

78

78

Kent Police

Lancashire, Blackpool & Blackburn with Darwen(4)

48

287

287

31

282

282

Lancashire Police, Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, Lancashire CC, Blackburn with Darwen BC, Blackpool C

Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland(5)

9

20

13

10

20

13

Leicestershire Constabulary

Lincolnshire

21

53

51

26

53

51

Lincolnshire CC

London

Did not reply/answer

652

526

Did not reply/answer

652

526

TfL

Merseyside

Did not reply/answer

51

33

Did not reply/answer

50

32

Merseyside RSP

Norfolk

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

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

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

-

Northamptonshire

23

48

48

0

48

0

Northamptonshire Police

Northumbria

21

46

26

11

48

35

Northumbria Police

Nottingham & Nottinghamshire

21

37

18

23

43

20

Nottinghamshire Police

South Yorkshire

18

65

47

18

65

45

S Yorkshire Police

Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

-

Suffolk

5

7

5

3

6

2

Suffolk Constabulary

Surrey

10

31

31

10

31

31

Surrey CC

Sussex

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

59

Did not reply/answer

Did not reply/answer

59

Sussex SRP, Sussex Police

Thames Valley

22

291

Data not available

26

291

245

Thames Valley Police

Warwickshire

30

34

38

32

36

40

Warwickshire CC

West Mercia

15

28

28

16

28

28

West Mercia SRP

West Midlands

43

304

304

22

304

304

West Midlands Police, WM RSP

West Yorkshire

56

344

92

76

372

99

West Yorkshire CRP

Wiltshire & Swindon

Data not available

19

19

0

19

0

Wiltshire Police

TOTAL

529

3039

2188

487

3026

2331

 

 

Notes to the table:

In the table above the abbreviations are as follows:

BC = Borough Council

CC = County Council

CRP = Casualty Reduction Partnership

RSP = Road Safety Partnership

SCP = Safety Camera partnership

SRP = Safer Roads Partnership

TfL = Transport for London

 

  1. This list of organisations is taken from the Department for Transport (http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/fixed-speed-camera-data-sources/fixed-speed-camera-data-sources.pdf). Road safety in England has been managed by partnerships which include local police, local fire brigade, local authorities and other relevant bodies.  Various names are used.
  2. A camera housing is the box at the roadside which holds a camera. Speed camera housings have a yellow reflective panel on them. A camera site is a geographical location (e.g., a road junction, a particular stretch of road) where a camera or cameras have been installed (Source: Transport for London). Where number of sites has not been given, the number of housings has been used as a proxy.
  3. FoI request rejected by virtue of Section 31(1)(a)(b)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  4. Collated from partnership member organisations.
  5. The red-speed camera in this area (and the housing/site for it) has been ignored because it has been used only for red light offences in the study period.
 
 
 
 

 

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