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Surrey to Spend Up To £1million to Double Number Average Speed Cameras

Published on: 29 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2021

Image – David Irwin

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Surrey may double its number of average speed cameras in a bid to control congestion and improve air quality in the county.

There are 10 average speed cameras in Surrey and Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver has approached Surrey Police’s chief constable with a view to adding between six to 10 more.

It costs around £100,000 to install each one so the county council could be spending up to £1 million.

Cllr Tim Oliver

Cllr Oliver said: “Rather than just looking at accident rates we’re looking at other issues as well, so through some congested villages it could control the flow of traffic so we see an improvement in air quality.”

He would also, in the future, like to see the speed cameras used for picking up fly-tippers and people throwing litter out of cars.

Cllr Oliver said it would “make a massive difference” to traffic in Weybridge, and the villages of Oxshott in Elmbridge and Westcott in Mole Valley are also being considered.

He hoped it would encourage drivers to stay on the A3 rather than use the road through Oxshott as a shortcut.

He said it was not a money-making exercise – speeding fines are paid to the courts rather than the council and “they’d get more income from the flashing cameras”. He wants “to see a county that’s got safer roads” and the average speed cameras had “very good levels of compliance”.

“If you save one life it will pay for that camera,” he said. The Department for Transport estimates the value of an average collision at around £105,000, which includes the cost of health care, emergency services, damage to property and vehicles and the lost economic output for the people injured.

Monitoring of five of the current average speed cameras on county council roads has shown they coincide with a reduction of 63 per cent in road casualties. A sixth installed in January did not have sufficient data.

Surrey has 16 spot speed cameras at its worst casualty hotspots, which cost a quarter of the price to install. These were shown to be less effective at reducing casualties in Surrey, with a reduction of 36 per cent.

Cllr Matt Furniss

At a meeting on Tuesday (September 28) where the SCC cabinet approved a policy of investment, Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford), cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “While casualty hotspots will remain the top priority, the policy also sets out criteria for using safety cameras in other locations where there might not be collisions, but where excess speeds, congestion or air quality are concerns for the community as well.

“Average speed cameras have been proven to improve air quality as people are not braking and accelerating so much.”

Public Health England estimates 5.7 per cent of deaths in Surrey are attributed to toxic air.

Cllr Furniss added the council’s investment in average speed, spot speed, red light and combination cameras would also help free up police resources.

Locations will be decided by Surrey Road Safety Partnership Board, which involves SCC, the police and the police and crime commissioner.

It will depend on community concern but also on which boroughs and districts contribute some of their community infrastructure levy, a charge on new developments in their area.

Cameras will continue to be clearly signed and painted yellow.

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Responses to Surrey to Spend Up To £1million to Double Number Average Speed Cameras

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    September 29, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    We will end up spending more time looking at the speedo than concentrating on the road. Average speed cameras are as dangerous as the unsafe smart motorways for people’s personal safety.

    • Daniel Hill Reply

      October 1, 2021 at 8:07 am

      If Jim Allen’s driving skills are so poor that he is unable to understand what the speed limit is, and stick to it, maybe he needs some more lessons.

      Average speed cameras are a brilliant idea and it’s good to see some councillors are capable of using taxpayers money for something we actually need.

    • Robert Burch Reply

      October 1, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      Can Jim Allen please provide some statistics behind his opinion on average speed cameras? The article provides compelling information to justify their use. If our council is lying to us on this, please can he show how?

      From a personal perspective, I find their use leads to a steady flow of traffic with little overtaking and a generally calmer atmosphere while driving. I would support their wider use given the improvement in accidents and air quality that the data suggests come as a result.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    September 30, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Whilst speeding is a major cause of accidents that cause significant injury, the answer is not more speed cameras but more Traffic Police.

    At the inception of the Police Service, the first commissioners, Rowan and Mayne, propounded that the prevention of crime, and speeding is a crime, was a priority over the detection of it. A word of advice or a caution from a police officer, at the time of the offence, is almost certainly more effective as a deterrent than a summons through the post later.

    • Keith Reeves Reply

      September 30, 2021 at 5:18 pm

      Really? How many offences could a traffic policeman deal with in a shift, and how many officers would we need to cover the road network to either catch a decent proportion of offenders or act as a deterrent?

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      September 30, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Speeding is not a major cause of accidents. It is a contributor to several immediate causes but the largest immediate cause is inattention or poor control.

      Speed does also contribute to the severity of damage/injury, but even this is reducing due to the design of modern cars to allow them to better absorb and mitigate the energy of a collision.

      Speed is however an easy parameter to measure and enforce so is promoted rather than other “antisocial” driving behaviours, also managed by SCC, like the Bus Lane cameras.

  3. Keith Reeves Reply

    September 30, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Really? I recall that controlling a vehicle’s speed, including glancing at the speedo every few seconds was a fundamental requirement when learning to drive. If someone can’t do that they shouldn’t be on the road. Jim Allen will be telling us next that checking your mirrors is optional (it does seem to be so for some drivers).

    Some statistics to back up his opinions relating to accidents might be illuminating.

  4. John Cooke Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 6:26 am

    I don’t have an answer to Mr Reeves’ question on how many officers would make a difference, but, being quite old, I remember that the presence of the police made people drive more safely, soberly, and within the law. It was common to see police cars at major intersections of the roads and it made you think twice.

    The knock-on effect would be the police noticing seeing potentially illegally loaded vans that might be fly-tipping, They would also be well placed to respond to crime.

    I rarely see police officers, either on the street or in vehicles.

  5. Anthony Mallard Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Mr Elliott, in his response, has left off a vital element of my point. Speeding causes significant injuries.

    Leaving that point aside, it is often forgotten that Traffic Police, whilst specialist officers, are also alert to other crime.

    How do “county line” drug criminals get from place to place, how do burglars travel to commit housebreaking? And I could highlight many other examples. The common theme is motor vehicles.

    Traffic Police officers are not just a significant deterrent as Mr Cooke correctly suggests but a vital element in the detection of crime in all its manifestations. The only problem is there are not enough of them.

  6. John Robson Reply

    October 1, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Who knew? So not only do speed cameras reduce accidents but they are also utilised to “control the flow of traffic so we can see an improvement in air quality”? Really?

    The average speed cameras installed in Guildford in 2019, are sited along the A31 Hogs back then onto the A3 through Guildford. Coincidentally, this includes the stretch of road which Highways England (HE) recently announced has “the worst nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in the country”.

    How can this be? Maybe HE got it wrong? Maybe visibility is yet to reach Beijing standards so at least the “safety and air quality” camera can keep on clicking to collect yet another Tory Tax. Thus, job done on the revenue side but believe me the shunts, bumps, gridlock and fumes have kept on coming.

    Having had first-hand experience of SCC’s attitude and actions towards road safety within Guildford, I can only conclude that the decision tool, the all-important cost/benefit analysis has ruled in favour of installing these Council cash machines and why wouldn’t it? The return on investment is rapid, probably only secondary to owning a PPE or test and trace company.

    With this Air Quality revelation, perhaps the Tories will also soon be telling us there is no fuel crisis and its just media hype (Maybe it’s another cunning plan to lower emissions).

    They’ll also tell you there’s no energy crisis and that some of the poorest in our society don’t have to choose between eating or heating this winter, that the UK’s energy market isn’t being held to ransom by overseas influences, primarily due to Government failure to plan and implement a standalone energy strategy for the UK.

    The last time we had a winter of discontent Thatcher sent in the cavalry to flatten the miners, can we expect to see the same soon in Red square if our overseas supplier turns off the gas tap?

    I’m no expert on Climate change, but it seems in this instance the biggest contributor to Surrey emissions and impact on air quality emanates from SCC HQ, if only we could put a tax on that…….

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