Mayor wanted to invest fines in further road safety measures
The Government has rejected a joint call from Bedford Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson and a number of Parish Council Chairs to return fines raised by the average speed cameras to the Borough.
Bedford Borough Council was the first place in the in the country to install the cameras on local roads in 2012.
There is a large waiting list of sites has grown as more communities have called for them.
The fines raised by these cameras go to central government. Mayor Dave joined forces with a number of Parish Chairs to make the modest request that fines be returned to the local area to be reinvested in local road safety measures.
In what the Mayor describes as an ‘extraordinary’ reply, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling’s response to the request states that if the government were to return some of the funds, they would put conditions on their use and therefore councils would face unwelcome constraints.
He also claims that while the funds retained by government are not reinvested in road safety measures, drivers benefit from other services funded from general government expenditure.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said:
“Chris Grayling refers to this money as if it would be some great act of generosity for the government to allow just some of it to be reinvested in making local roads safer for all.
“His excuse that they cannot return even a small portion of the funds because local areas wouldn’t want to be constrained by the conditions government would impose is extraordinary.’
“This is public money. Surely allowing the cost of installation of each set of speed cameras to be returned for communities to reinvest in road safety would be a fair, effective use of the fines they generate.
“It would also build trust in the system, which is important as these cameras are extremely effective in bringing down speeds. Instead, however, Chris Grayling and the government have dismissed this call for fairness and clearly have no intention of doing anything other than hoarding this money in Whitehall.”