Speeding up…

21 07 2008

So even if the Tories at Westminster are failing to impress despite the apparent failings of Gordon Brown’s Labour government, at local level, it appears, all is going well in terms of attracting new voters. Especially if you live in Swindon.

Allow me to elaborate. Swindon councillor, Peter Greenhalgh has this week come out in favour of reducing the number of speed cameras in his area. He apparently has conducted extensive research and has found that cameras amount to nothing more than “a blatant tax on the motorist”. It seems refreshing to see that someone with some common sense has finally said something about the ridiculous number of cameras which are littering the side of roads.

The response to his claims came from Anne Snelgrove, Labour MP for South Swindon who claimed, somewhat idealistically, “safety cameras are there to save lives not to make money”. If you believe that then you will, apparently, believe anything. It is just a convenient thing that in 2003-4 the government were able to make £113,549,240 from the cameras, apparently keeping £21,700,396 of that for the treasury, and reinvesting the rest. But of course, the cameras are there to save lives. Alastair Darling’s report into the matter in 2005 found that this may be true (a copy of which is here), but carefully strives to avoid mentioning how much money the government make out of them. The money is just a nice by-product of the government trying to ensure our safety. Obviously.

Whatever you wish to call these cameras (I opt for ‘speed’ cameras as opposed to ‘safety’ cameras) it is clear that they have become a bane for motorists up and down the country. I know of many cameras which are placed strategically, not for the benefits of safety, because there are none; but instead to catch motorists out. These cameras do not keep either pedestrians or motorists safe, in fact I know of at least one which does the opposite, it causes dangerous driving by being placed on a corner going up (or coming down) a steep hill. I would go as far as to suggest cameras actually cause more erratic driving speeds. Cars now slow down and speed up between the cameras, yo-yo-ing speeds in a more dangerous manner. Can this be considered safe? I remain unconvinced. Which is why it is nice to see someone making a stand against these machines. Hopefully we can start to remove some of the yellow boxes from roadsides and begin to reduce the amount that they are making from motorists travelling a fraction over the 30mph limit.

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