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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 20:02 
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFrien ... 97,00.html

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March 05, 2004

Speed cameras secretly sited away from blackspots
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

POLICE and local authorities have secretly been allowed to place hundreds of speed cameras at locations without a history of road casualties.

The Department for Transport had previously claimed that cameras were placed only where there had been a minimum number of injury-causing accidents.

Under guidelines published in 2002, the partnership bodies created by police and councils were instructed to put them only where there had been at least four deaths or serious injuries, or eight injuries of any severity, in the previous three years. The casualties must have happened within one kilometre (0.625 mile) of the site.

But a draft 140-page handbook issued last October allows them discretion over where they place 15 per cent of their cameras. A page entitled ?tolerance for exceptional sites? states: ?Tolerance is included for partnerships to enforce at sites that do not meet the criteria set out in this handbook.?

The handbook was placed in the House of Commons library but the department failed to announce that it had changed the rules to allow cameras to be placed simply where there was ?partnership concern? about road safety.

Partnerships can also respond to a community?s demands for a camera when there is evidence that speeding is worrying residents. They must first establish that there is a speeding problem at the site ? but this is not difficult as 59 per cent of drivers exceed 30mph limits.

Cameras can also be placed on roads ?that do not meet minimum engineering requirements?.

The change helps to explain why the Government was able to announce yesterday that a review had shown that all the 5,000 cameras complied with its guidelines. The Department for Transport said it had heard back from all areas and was satisfied the cameras were where they should be.

David Jamieson, a junior Transport Minister, told BBC News 24: ?All camera partnerships have written back to us and the indications are that the cameras are in the right places.?

The Association of Chief Police Officers has privately been urging ministers to announce the revised guidelines. Ian Bell, its camera liaison officer, said: ?We need to get it out into the public arena because otherwise we can be accused of trying to hide something.? Mr Bell said several forces, including Lancashire, were placing cameras at sites of community concern because they had run out of sites which met casualty criteria. Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA Motoring Trust, said: ?By creating this grey area there will be concern that cameras are being installed to meet financial targets. The camera partnerships are like any business and do not want to go to their boards and admit they have made a loss.?

But he said that the AA received far more letters in support of cameras than against them. ?People want to know how many casualties there will have to be before they can get a camera in their village.?

Transport 2000, the environmental lobby group, has estimated that there are 10,000 requests a year from local communities for speed cameras.

A Department of Transport spokesman said he hoped that the final version of the handbook would be published later this spring.
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We REALLY need to see the damn handbook. I put in a request for the handbook to the DfT in November under their "freedom of information policy (presently called a code of practice). No response. Note to self: Must follow it up.

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The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 23:44 
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Looks like it is access to members only.... one possibility is that the handbook has been deposited in the British Library but it's not listed on their online catalogue: http://blpc.bl.uk/

Gareth


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 19:05 
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I've seen the handbook and spoken to colleagues on the 15% rule. It looks like a get out clause for cameras that don't meet criteria. As I understand it, the partnerships can justify 15% enforcement time at sites that don't meet the stated criteria. This is of course a joke as partnerships have no way of auditing how much time they spend at each site so basically they can spend unlimited time at any site IF THEY WISHED (note, my experience is they don't, but I don't know the whole country).

Bear in mind that there have been over 10,000 requests for camera sites from the public that have been turned down too. It's a hard balance between those pro and those anti speed cameras. Still, you'd think that surely if the claim is that cameras save lives then they should only be enforcing at sites that meet criteria (i.e. have a large casualty history)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 19:58 
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It would appear that the Safety Camera Partnerships seek approval from the Department for Transport for speed camera sites. (well Herts County Council do)

Im surprised this is the case. Wonder what the background is on that?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 23:02 
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Forgot that bit. All partnerships get approval for is the the ones that do meet criteria - the ones that don't are done on trust and an agreement it won't be abused. I understand that when the DfT made the announcement on it being satisfied that sites meet criteria it didn't include these other ones as they don't require any info on them.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 17:51 
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quote
But he said that the AA received far more letters in support of cameras than against them. ?People want to know how many casualties there will have to be before they can get a camera in their village.?

unquote.

every sleepy village that has one hot hatch with a large exhaust thru it on a sunday afternoon will want a speed cam. Cams are the answers to all ills. Since when is a speed cam a social tool. Heck I want one in my road, and I have 10 cars and a tractor a day.. they all go far to fast ..

Its a nimby issue. they should never of bought their house on such a busy road should they? They all get in their cars and wizz thru the next village .

rgds
bill


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