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Nine of the 26 fixed roadside cameras in the county are being removed over the next few weeks. Officials say the cameras have done their job in reducing crashes and casualties at these locations.
The cameras being removed are -
A37 Farrington Gurney
A371 Prestleigh, south of Shepton Mallet
A39 Green Ore, between Wells and Midsomer Norton
A37 Emborough cross roads, Binegar, north of Shepton Mallet
A370 East Brent, south of Weston-super-Mare
A361 East Lyng, near Taunton
A370 Lympsham, near Weston-super-Mare
A358 Creech Castle, Taunton
In recent years the Safety Camera Partnership has placed increasing emphasis on education rather than enforcement. More than 175,000 speeding drivers have now attended a Speed Choice course as an alternative to having penalty points on their licence.
The number of people injured on Somerset’s roads in the past eight years has fallen from 2594 in 2002 to 2019 last year – with the number of deaths and serious injuries going down from 351 to 304.
Dick Bowen, manager of the Safety Camera Partnership (Safecam) said: “I believe our on-going driver education programme is paying dividends. There is now a general acceptance that excessive and inappropriate speed is a major factor in many of the crashes on our roads.
“We are also looking at more innovative approaches to casualty reduction, including the introduction of rural safety areas in Somerset, with local people working with officials to improve local road safety issues.
“This will enable a more flexible approach as well as giving local communities a bigger say in what happens in their area,” said Mr Bowen.
Safecam was launched in April 2002 with the aim of reducing road casualties through driver education and camera enforcement. The partners include Somerset County Council, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Crown Prosecution Service, Highways Agency, HM Courts Service and NHS Primary Care Trusts.
Mr Bowen said they would continue to monitor speeds and collisions at the sites from which cameras were being removed and if there was a rise they would use a mobile camera team to enforce speed limits.
Two other Gatso cameras – at Henlade, near Taunton, and Rooksbridge on the A38 – have been removed in recent months but have been replaced with digital cameras. Images from digital cameras can be retrieved automatically, direct from the site over a broadband line, which means staff do not need to visit these locations to change film.
Mr Bowen said: “Speed limits are set to protect the travelling public and local communities and I would appeal to all drivers to keep within speed limits irrespective of whether there is a camera operating in the area.”