Council set to ditch speed cameras

A Tory council has issued a direct challenge to the Government by considering plans to scrap speed cameras in its authority area.

Swindon Borough Council is reviewing its involvement with the local safety camera partnership scheme and considering whether to spend its £400,000-a-year contribution elsewhere.

Conservative councillors moved a motion on the issue two months ago, according to the leader, Councillor Roderick Bluh.

Mr Bluh said: "A huge amount of money is being raised by speed cameras and we are seeking better ways of ensuring road safety without penalising motorists."

It is believed to be the first time that a council in the UK has challenged the Government over the issue.

The Conservative-run council is considering withdrawing from the Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership after a shake-up of speed camera funding rules means the Treasury now keeps the proceeds of fines.

The Government then makes road-safety grants to councils.

Ministers argue this breaks the controversial link between cash and camera, which critics had argued gave the authorities a financial incentive to fine more motorists.

Tory councillor Peter Greenhalgh reportedly said the money should be spent on a range of local safety measures.

But Labour MP Anne Snelgrove has accused council leaders of playing "politics with lives" and is calling on the council to drop the plans.

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