5:00pm Tuesday 12th November 2013
By Hannah Al-Othman
A MOBILE speed camera used in Burnley has been branded a ‘cash cow’ after raising £22,000 in fines in just three months – the highest in East Lancashire.
A total of 825 drivers were caught by the camera, close to Asda in Princess Way, between July and September.
By the second week of October, fines totalling £22,440 had been paid, with several thousand pounds still outstanding.
Lancashire Police runs eight mobile speed camera vans and, of the 122 East Lancashire sites where the vans operated over the three-month period, the Princess Way site was the most profitable by far.
The second most lucrative camera in Burnley, on Westway, caught 472 people, but mobile cameras used in other areas of Burnley only snapped two or three motorists during the same three months.
Chris Lane, 49, who was caught by the Princess Way camera, said signage should be clearer to make drivers aware of the 30mph speed limit.
The chef, who lives in Burnley, said: “That stretch along there is just a cash cow for them. It’s an entrapment area.
“My view is you come along there and it just looks like a dual carriageway. There’s no signage there whatsoever. If there are speed cameras there should be signs 500 yards before, but there’s nothing.
“If it’s such a dangerous area, why don’t they put signs up telling people what the speed limit is? If they did that, they wouldn’t catch so many people. I think that’s why they don’t do it.”
Motorist James Ireland, 35, said: “I work locally and, from what I’ve seen and heard, I’m not surprised that it’s the most profitable camera in Burnley.
“I was caught at the end of last year and then a second time in April this year.
“My feeling is that it’s a little bit underhand, the way they do it.
“You can’t make any excuse for the speeding, but it’s not about road safety, it’s about raising revenue.
“As far as I’m aware it’s not particularly known for accidents, which would prompt a road safety campaign, but it coincides with budget cuts and people needing to raise revenue.”
But Lancashire Police defended its use of the mobile van on Princess Way, saying the camera had reduced speeding levels in the area.
Sgt Claire Pearson said: “Princess Way runs between a heavily populated residential area on both sides of the carriageway and therefore has a 30mph speed limit.
“Disappointingly, there are motorists that do not adhere to this limit. Therefore it has been necessary to use mobile speed cameras at this site.
“Encouragingly, despite a significant number of motorists being caught speeding over the past 12 months, the most recent figures show that the number of people caught speeding has fallen sharply which means our enforcement activity is working.
“The road is an area of concern for residents, particularly as children are regularly crossing the road. We would urge all drivers to drive safely and in accordance with the speed limit.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he knew several people who had been caught by the camera, but backed the police’s decision to target speeding motorists.
He said: “If people didn’t speed, they wouldn’t have to pay. Cameras are there to save lives and keep speeds down.
“It’s there to enforce the law. Anything that improves road safety and driving skills and saves lives I will support.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said speed cameras needed to be used proportionately.
He said: “Like a large majority of the public, we see a need for speed cameras. Our evidence is that they reduce road casualties.
“However their use needs to be proportionate and justifiable. Encouragingly, for minor infringements, many drivers are being offered training rather than being hit with points and a fine.
“The jury is still out as to whether these courses reduce reoffending, but they do help rekindle trust between motorists and the police and show that speed cameras aren’t solely a money-making exercise for the Treasury.”
PANEL: Number of drivers caught by mobile speed cameras in Burnley between July and September 2013 A671 Padiham Road (30mph) 54 A671 Todmorden Road (40mph) 11 A671 Westway (30mph) 472 A679 Westgate (30mph) 39 A682 Colne Road (30mph) 5 A682 Manchester Road (30mph) 34 Brownside Road (30mph) 2 Brunshaw Road, near Brunshaw Avenue (30mph) 7 Briercliffe Road (30mph) 2 Marsden Road, near New Ground Court (30mph) 10 Ightenhill Park Lane (30mph) 3 Ridge Avenue (30mph) 36 Total 675
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