'Out of date' criteria for putting up speed cameras 'must change'

Just a single speed camera has been put up in Wakefield in the last five years.
Just a single speed camera has been put up in Wakefield in the last five years.

Councils should be given more freedom to put up speed cameras where they see fit, it's been suggested.

Martin Barnes, from Wakefield Council's highways department, said it was too difficult for the local authority to install cameras where they see fit, because of tight guidelines enforced by the government.

Mr Barnes said unless the criteria was relaxed, there was no point having speed cameras as an "option" for councils.

Mr Barnes said unless the criteria was relaxed, there was no point having speed cameras as an "option" for councils.

Only one speed camera has been installed anywhere in the Wakefield district during the past five years.

The number of road accidents resulting in serious injury in Wakefield has slightly declined this year, a meeting of town and parish clerks was told on Wednesday.

But that reality is at odds with the public's perception - a survey of local residents suggests people feel less safe on Wakefield's roads than they did last year.

Speaking about the issue, Mr Barnes said: "On speed cameras, Wakefield's had one in about the last five years.

"The criteria is so difficult. It's out-of-date and that has to change, otherwise it's just not an option.

"You have to have multiple fatalities on a specific length of road and a specific percentage of those have involved a breach of the speed limit.

"And that rarely happens."

The Department of Transport said it was unable to comment because of Purdah rules, which restrict what civil servants can say before an election.

The meeting was told that Wakefield residents' satisfaction with road safety had fallen slightly from 55 per cent last to 53 per cent this year.

Those results came from a survey conducted by the council over recent months.

Mr Barnes said that road safety officers within the council were "shocked" by those findings, but said the authority was committed to trying to reduce accidents further.

A total of 14 fatalities occurred on the district's roads in 2018, all of them in different areas. A further 142 incidents resulted in at least one person being hospitalised with injuries.

But Mr Barnes added: "There's been a significant decrease in incidents between January and June. That shows we're heading in the right direction.

"The difficulty we've got is trying to identify where we can put our resources (for road safety measures)."

"What we tried to do is casualty prevention. We do have to work where those incidents are."

Local Democracy Reporting Service