Bedford Borough Council’s Environment Committee heard the Government slammed for ‘hoarding speed camera fines in Whitehall’ rather than returning them to the local area for investment in further road safety measures.
The comments came from Lib Dem Environment Committee spokesperson Cllr Tim Hill during a discussion about the average speed cameras programme in Bedford Borough, which was the first area in the country to install the technology on local roads in 2012.
There are currently 32 cameras already in place and requests for nearly 80 new camera locations from local residents.
The cost to the council of installing each camera is around £85,000, with an additional £2,500 for annual maintenance.
Every penny of the fines from the cameras goes to central government.
Despite the Mayor and Bedford Borough Council lobbying for the installation cost of each set to be returned to councils for reinvestment in cameras and road safety, the Government has insisted on retaining all of the funds in Whitehall.
Cllr Hill told the meeting: “Average speed cameras are incredibly effective at bringing down speeds, as I know very well from my ward.
“Communities across Bedford Borough have benefitted from this Council being the first in the country to bring them in. That’s why we’ve got that long list [of locations] put forward by a wide variety of people.
“Instead of keeping the fines to boost its own coffers, the government should return the cost of installation of each set of speed cameras to communities to reinvest in road safety.
“That would be fair, it would build more trust in the system and it would help Councils like ours make our roads even safer.
“We know that the Mayor and the Council have lobbied for this, but the Government has flatly refused.
“If it had any sense of fairness and a real commitment to road safety, it would start listening to this authority and stop hoarding this cash in Whitehall.”