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12 December 2013, 13:47
A bid from Avon and Somerset police to buy speed cameras and switch them back on in Somerset looks set to go ahead.
Cllr John Osman, leader of Somerset County Council, has responded to Chief Constable Nick Gargan’s call to switch back on speed cameras across Somerset, as long as there is no cost to the County Council.
Speed cameras were switched off in 2010 after Avon & Somerset Police approached all Local Authorities claiming fixed speed cameras were ineffective. Instead Police wanted more mobile speed cameras operating across Somerset and they were therefore withdrawing their funding from the Safety Camera Partnership.
Cllr John Osman said:
'I have listened to Chief Constable Nick Gargan’s offer to buy and take up the costs of operating the fixed speed cameras throughout Somerset.
'We were advised in 2010 by the police that fixed speed cameras were ineffective against speeding motorists. However, the new Chief Constable has a new approach and new data and we are happy to discuss the police purchasing them from us for a nominal fee.'
Supt Ian Smith from Avon and Somerset Police said:
'We have been liaising with all local authorities to discuss whether they would consider reactivating their dormant digital speed cameras.
'This discussion is based on national research showing that cameras add value to road safety and also based on the fact that there is over £2million worth of camera infrastructure which is slowly eroding on the roadsides. We believe that the static cameras can be operated in a cost neutral way and that reactivating them for use alongside our mobile cameras will help in making our roads safer.
'We hope that local authorities will agree with us that it makes sense to reactivate the digital cameras in their area but we have always maintained that should they decline to do this we would be willing to purchase them for a nominal fee. We would be more than willing to discuss this further with Somerset County Council.'