Stockport has volunteered to run a speed camera trial as part of a push to improve road safety. Responsibility for installing and managing speed cameras in the borough lies with the Greater Manchester Safer Roads Partnership.
But its current guidelines mean at least three deaths or serious injuries must occur on a stretch of road before a new speed camera can be considered. Now Stockport councilors have called on the partnership – whose members include TfGM and GMP – to urgently review its approach and ‘adopt new criteria which do not require deaths or significant harm to occur first’.
At a full council meeting on Thursday, members also unanimously voted to offer the borough as a trial location for such new criteria, should a pilot be deemed necessary. The initial motion was moved by Lib Dem councillor Lisa Smart, who said many residents were worried about speeding and the impact accidents can have on children, families and much-loved pets.
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“The reason we are bringing this motion is because speed cameras work,” she told the meeting, citing the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. They reduce speeds, they reduce accidents and – crucially – they reduce deaths on our roads.”
Coun Smart said the current criteria – usually requiring serious injuries or deaths to occur before speed cameras are considered – was ‘not fair’. “Not every road is right for speed cameras, but there are lots of roads where they are the right place. We just need to give the police the tools they need in order to enforce the current law as it stands,” she added.
A Conservative amendment to the motion, calling for each ward to be given at least one Speed Indicator Device (SID) to place at known hot-spots, was voted through by councillors.
Coun Oliver Johnstone agreed the current speed camera criteria was ‘far too rigid’ and set a ‘disturbingly high threshold for intervention’. But he added: “While the motion before us makes credible and sound proposals, it must be acknowledged that negotiating this new criteria will take time and, indeed, will not be a panacea,”
Coun Johnstone continued: “Providing access for each ward for at least one speed indicator device will provide members with an effective tool for monitoring speeding and enforcing lower speeds in the short term, but also build extra capacity for our long-term road safety strategy. ”
Seconding the Tory amendment, Coun John Wright said residents were ‘rightly extremely concerned’ that fatalities or injuries had to occur before a new speed camera could be installed. “Surely the criteria for the installation of speed cameras should be based on the number of excessive speeds recorded, rather than the number of deaths,” he added.
The motion also called on the combined authority to review scrutiny arrangements for the GM Safer Roads Partnership ‘to ensure democratic accountability’.
Stockport council met at the town hall on Thursday night (March 31).
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.