Road safety charity Brake claims Swindon Town Council is embarking on a “very dangerous experiment with people’s lives” by making good its promise to shut down the Wiltshire metropolis’ network of (six) fixed speed cameras.
Council Cabinet Member for Sustainability Transport and Strategic Planning, Peter Greenhalgh, said: “In Swindon we are developing a reputation for challenging the status quo and being at the forefront of new thinking. Our sole aim is to find new and more effective ways to reduce road accidents within our current budget.”
One strand in their thinking is clearly the fact that the council pays for the maintenance and operation of the deeply unpopular cameras, while the speeding fine revenue goes to central government.
As the physical removal of the town’s cameras proceeds over the summer (this is supposed to be summer, isn’t it?), Swindon’s mould-breaking municipal freethinkers claim they are creating a precedent other local authorities will emulate.
Greenhalgh has previously described speeding fines as a tax on motorists, earning himself the dubious accolade of Top Gear hero.
Brake is not impressed, however, claiming speed cameras do not affect the innocent and are “an important tool in catching drivers who insist on breaking the law and putting lives in danger.”
The word insist seems a little harsh. Last time Bankstone News got flashed, it does not recall being particularly insistent on anything – apart perhaps from texting while juggling a drink and a sandwich, interacting vociferously with sport radio, trying to find its glasses, and half-heartedly resisting the amorous attentions of its lady passenger.