Government spending for roads has been in the news a lot recently – from the budget last month, to the recent announcement that West Midlands Police has turned off all of its 304 speed cameras.
It’s done so to save money – so with announcements by Chancellor George Osborne that road infrastructure spending will have to wait until other taxes are implemented to raise money, it seems that authorities all over the UK could be wasting money on needless projects.
It’s reported that the West Midlands Force could not afford the £489,000 bill to convert the old film-based cameras into digital units, so scrapped all the speed cameras under its jurisdiction.
Removing the cameras would cost a further £600,000, taking the potential total bill to over £1 million. Instead of ripping them from the ground though, the local council – who pay for maintenance on the units – and the Police will just leave them in the ground.
While that might have saved them money, there’ll be plenty of Police Forces that will stump up the cash, prompting the question, is it really needed?
Speed cameras are placed at crash hotspots primarily to improve road safety, and while they make around £100 million in fines every year, according to Government figures (between their introduction in 1992 and 2011) they haven’t cut accident rates.
In Humberside, which features 89 speed cameras, there was no change in the number of accidents at 20% of the locations, while smashes recorded rose at 17 sites.
Of the 44 speed cameras in the Thames Valley area and the 47 sites in Cambridgeshire, only seven and four of the locations saw a rise in the number of incidents recorded.
Is spending money to convert these units to digital technology therefore worth it? You decide.
Further news this week that two sets of 13-inch double-yellow lines – the UK’s record shortest – had been painted in Cambridgeshire also raises concerns over how councils are spending their money.
You’d be hard pushed to get one car’s wheel on a length of line that long, never mind a full car, so why are local authorities spending money on needless peripheral matters when the nation’s roads are littered with potholes?
It seems almost every motorist has been directly affected by hitting a pothole (or knows someone who has), having to shell out for expensive repairs to tyres, alloy wheels and suspension components as a result.
Yet the money madness continues.
What do you think about the way your local council spends its money on the road network in your area?
Do you have an opinion on speed cameras – are they moneymaking machines or genuine safety devices in your eyes? Start the debate below.