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A Sound Financial Move or an Unnecessary Risk?


Article by: robert
Date: 17 Dec 2010

pocketgpsworld.comThe Yeovil Express reports that Somerset County Council has taken the first step towards switching off all of its fixed speed cameras, something the council is hoping will be completed by April of 2011. Spurred by mounting financial concerns, they can no longer see their way clear to maintaining the cameras.

When the proposal was first made, the local police made an application to take over the responsibility for maintaining and replacing the fixed safety cameras. The council claims, however, that the police's offer would not make up for the financial burden that the aging speed cameras are now placing on the county, especially since many of the cameras are nearing the end of their operational life and would have to be replaced, most likely with upgraded cameras that cost more than the county is willing to spend.

The cameras that are currently being used by Somerset are projected to cost some £60,000 per year with the cost of converting them to digital output threatening another £405,000.

A recent RAC report recommended that councils continue to fund the cameras on a local level for the safety of their motorists and was aimed at those counties that have usable camera systems already in place, but who opt not to use them because of the cost of maintaining the systems.

However, they did not anticipate situations such as those now found in Somerset, where aging camera systems would reach the end of their usable life and the counties would opt not to replace them.

Somerset County Council's decision to shut down the speed cameras will go some way in deciding just how effective the cameras really are in reducing the number of traffic accidents every year; a test that could very well be reflective not just of the numbers in Somerset, but across the entire UK as well.

Mobile cameras will still operate across the county. Remember that the PocketGPSWorld.com speed camera database contains what we strongly believe to be the most complete database of mobile camera warnings in the UK!
Comments
Posted by Milesey on Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:34 pm Reply with quote

Just an idea for PGPSW ... as cameras are obsoleted, would it be worth retaining their positions on the PGPSW database to show the stretch was/is a potential black spot (assuming you believe the camera was placed at such a position) ?

Could be given a new category similar to the TEMP, PMOBILE etc ?


GPS Kit:
Mazda TomTom NB1 built-in.
Samsung Galaxy S5, TT app, Cameralert.
(Older kit: TomTom Go Original, 910, 940 Live, 1005 Live and Snooper S4 Neo).

 
Posted by Darren on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:02 pm Reply with quote

Milesey Wrote:
Just an idea for PGPSW ... as cameras are obsoleted, would it be worth retaining their positions on the PGPSW database to show the stretch was/is a potential black spot (assuming you believe the camera was placed at such a position) ?

Could be given a new category similar to the TEMP, PMOBILE etc ?

We are very cautious about introducing extra categories and making the service over-complex. Its one of the things that attracts the most complaints, too complex.

We don't have a Black Spot category because it is so subjective, and, as it has been shown on many occasions, the presence of a speed camera van does not necessarily mean the road is dangerous.

We do retain the records of lapsed mobile cameras and these can be viewed on the master submission map but that's as far as we would wish to take this.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by spook51 on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:12 pm Reply with quote

Confused thinking in Somerset:

" the County Council rejected an application from the police to take over the running costs"

County Council bozo said,
“The Police approached us to take on responsibility for maintaining and replacing fixed safety cameras. We understand their position, but in the current challenging financial climate we are unable to take on the considerable costs of running the cameras ourselves, particularly as we believe that many of them are nearing the end of their operational life and would shortly be due for upgrading.”


 
Posted by DennisN on Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:39 am Reply with quote

spook51 Wrote:
Confused thinking in Somerset:

" the County Council rejected an application from the police to take over the running costs"

County Council bozo said,
“The Police approached us to take on responsibility for maintaining and replacing fixed safety cameras. We understand their position, but in the current challenging financial climate we are unable to take on the considerable costs of running the cameras ourselves, particularly as we believe that many of them are nearing the end of their operational life and would shortly be due for upgrading.”

Just poor writing - amend the first sentence to read "the County Council rejected an applicationfrom the police for the County Council to take over the running costs" and arises from .....
Quote:
The news follows a decision by Avon and Somerset Police to disband the Safecam partnership that currently runs and maintains speed cameras throughout the county.
So it's not Somerset County Council proposing to shut the cameras down, but the police's decision to shut down the Safety Camera Partnership, which is currently running the cameras. The council has simply decided not to take them over when the partnership ceases to exist.


Dennis

Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

 
Posted by spook51 on Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:40 am Reply with quote

I should have known better than rely on free sheet journalism but given the dire financial straits Somerset CC is in it's not surprising, they're slashing every budget they can.

Thinks.... I wonder if the Leader of SCC still drives a Mercedes sports car?


 
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