One in five speed cameras turned off as council looks to cut costs

Officials have revealed that one in five of Northamptonshire's speed cameras have been turned off in the past few weeks.

As councils across the country face tough financial times, some, such as Oxfordshire, have decided to turn off all their cameras because they cost too much to run.

The leaders of Northamptonshire County Council have said they have no plans to get rid of the cameras which line many of the county's roads, but the authority's cabinet member for transport, Councillor Heather Smith (Con, Prebendal) admitted a number had already been switched off.

She said: "We've achieved a huge amount in Northamptonshire and there are no plans to do anything like they have in Oxford.

"But we have turned a number of cameras off over the past month.

"We chose to do that because we looked at each camera site and there were some where we found the cameras were no longer really needed.

"But we've decided not to put a bag over them or take them down because they still serve the significant purpose of reminding drivers to slow down."

Last week, the Chronicle & Echo revealed the Northamptonshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, which is responsible for the county's cameras, had its government funding cut by almost 1 million. The funding cut for Northamptonshire is greater than that faced in Oxfordshire, where the decision has been made to switch off all the county's 72 cameras.

Discussing the Northamptonshire funding cut, Councillor Smith said: "A plan is already in place to meet the reductions the Northamptonshire Casualty Reduction Partnership faces. This includes looking at reducing staffing levels across the partnership."

Road safety charity Brake has written to every council in the country urging them not to follow Oxford by turning off all their cameras.

The group's deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: "Turning cameras off is a disastrous blow for communities relying on them to protect them."

Northamptonshire County Council has not revealed which of the county's 42 cameras have been turned off.