Oxfordshire axes its speed cameras
* County to switch off its 72 cameras * Central Government to end funding for them * Safety campaigners slam the decision...
Oxfordshire is to switch off its 72 speed cameras after funding for its road safety partnership was slashed by 600,000.
The move follows the Government's election pledge to end funding for fixed speed cameras.
Not a 'cash cow' for councils
Keith Mitchell, the leader of Conservative-controlled Oxfordshire County Council described the image of speed cameras being a 'cash cow' for councils as a myth.
He said: 'We [County Councils] pay the costs of the cameras, but the Government takes the revenue.'
Safety campaigners slam decision
However, safety campaigners have slammed the decision, claiming it would be a 'disaster' if spending cuts meant more councils across England and Wales scrapped their cameras, too.
Dan Campsall, from Thames Valley Safer Roads, said: 'The cameras have been proven to provide casualty reductions and without funding they can't continue to be supported and we might see casualties rise again.
'It's not only a problem that Oxfordshire is facing. There are local authorities up and down this country who are going to have to be making some very tough decisions on the vital area of road safety.'
Labour's shadow home secretary Alan Johnson also joined in the condemnation by calling the decision to remove cameras as 'big mistake'
Speaking on Sky News he said: Everyone who has analysed this has said that speed cameras have been an important part of the dramatic improvement on our roads.
'The carnage on our roads every year has gone down dramatically. It has gone down to below the levels, as I understand it, of the 1930s when there were far fewer cars on the road.
'If they are connected to saving lives of not just adults but children as well, who are particularly vulnerable on our roads, then they are performing a useful function.'
'End to the war on the motorist'
Mike Penning, the road safety minister said: 'In the coalition agreement the Government made clear it would end central funding for fixed speed cameras.
'Local authorities have relied too heavily on safety cameras for far too long so I am pleased that some councils are now focusing on other measures to reduce road casualties. This is another example of this Government delivering on its pledge to end the war on the motorist.'