Taxpayers still Paying Thousands for Switched off Speed Cameras
Speed cameras across Northants have been switched off for the past five years – but they are still costing taxpayers thousands of pounds a year, the Northants Herald and Post has discovered.
The newspaper found in an Freedom of Information (FOI) request last month that there are no plans to turn any of the 47 fixed speed cameras back on, following the decision to switch them off in 2011.
But despite the cameras no longer being in service, Northants County Council is continuing to carry out ‘maintenance’ on them every year, while still ‘monitoring’ them.
And the cost of this ‘annual inspection and maintenance’ programme totals around £5,000 per year.
Detailing what is meant by ‘maintenance and monitoring’, the local authority said: “The camera housings are maintained and monitored (except those on Highways England trunk roads) during a programme of inspections to make sure that they are clean, free from graffiti etc, and in a safe condition.
“We have retained the structures in place and continue to face them strategically towards the carriageway in order to take advantage of their significant deterrent factor to speeding motorists and consequent positive effect on driver behaviour.
“The sites are also continuously analysed in terms of collision rates but there is no evidence to suggest that decommissioning cameras in Northamptonshire has contributed to any rise in collisions or road death numbers.”
All of the fixed speed cameras were turned off in 2011 after the £1 million-a-year funding from the county’s ‘Casualty Reduction Partnership’ was withdrawn.
Since the move, many have taken to social media to question whether they really are turned off, and if there are plans to switch them on soon.
The fears have long lingered around due to the fact the majority of the yellow camera shells have remained in place since being turned off.
However, Northants County Council – which insists all of the cameras are still switched off – made the move to keep them in case they are ever turned on in the long term, and because they believe it acts as a deterrent to speeding motorists.