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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 14:07 
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Two-pronged plan for speed cameras blitz


SPEED cameras are to target thousands more motorists in the Lothians thanks to twin plans to step up the blitz on the region?s drivers.

The hours which mobile speed cameras operate in Edinburgh are to be extended to cover the evening rush hour and more of the peak time in the morning.

Nine new sites are also to be covered by the mobile units in West Lothian in a move which will introduce a permanent speed camera scheme to the area for the first time.

The move comes amid continuing concern about the siting of the cameras, which are thought to have raked in more than £4 million in the Capital since being introduced last June.

The Lothian and Borders Safety Camera Partnership - the organisation set up by the police, local councils and the Scottish Executive to run the scheme - refuses to say how many fines it has dished out.

However, the cameras are thought to be on target to raise an estimated £6m in their first year, due to a huge rise in the number of £60 fixed penalty fines issued.

The latest crackdown will see the mobile speed cameras, which rotate between eight accident blackspots in the Capital, running longer than their current 8am to 4pm operating hours.

The LBSCP said it was looking to introduce new shift patterns for the eight operators of its two mobile camera units. The changes are expected to come into effect within the next few months, but it is unclear for how many extra hours the cameras will be "live".

Lawrence Wynne, the partnership?s project manager, said: "We are hoping to extend the coverage so as to provide cover during the morning and evening peak times in an effort to reduce speeds and casualties."

The LBSCP said early indications suggested the seriousness of accidents had fallen since the cameras were introduced and the number of drivers speeding in the areas they cover had dropped by 50 per cent.

In West Lothian, the first cameras will patrol nine roads across the county, including the busy spine road in Livingston, a main route for shoppers travelling to the area?s two main shopping complexes, the Almondvale Centre and McArthurGlen.

The West Lothian cameras aim to catch around 3000 drivers a year, with speeding fines expected to generate almost £170,000 annually. Edinburgh?s Tory transport spokesman, Allan Jackson, said the authorities needed to do more to convince the public that many of the speed cameras were needed. He said: "There has been a deterioration in public confidence in speed camera schemes.

"We can?t just put these cameras up at random without explaining why they are there. We should be able to quote to people what happened at that particular blackspot to convince them."

West Lothian?s SNP group leader, Councillor Peter Johnston, added: "We will be seeking assurances that these cameras will not be simply used to raise revenue when they come to West Lothian."

However, Edinburgh?s transport leader, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: "All the research quite clearly indicates that mobile and static cameras do reduce speed violations and save people?s lives, and it is to be welcomed that we are able to roll out their use in Edinburgh."


The complete ignorance behind some of those statements is absolutely staggering. I'm going to ring the Scotsman. Watch this space.

Paul Smith
Our scrap speed cameras petition got over 28,000 sigs
The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety

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