Fears axing A140 speed camera in north Suffolk could lead to more accidents

Fears have been raised a decision to switch off a speed camera on a busy section of the A140 in north Suffolk could lead to an increase in the number of road accidents.

Janet Norman-Philips, clerk of Redlingfield Parish Council, has written to Joanna Spicer, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, asking why the camera on the A140 at Brome has been switched off, describing the section of road covered by the camera as 'lethal' and the decision to axe it as encouraging motorists to speed up.

On Monday, she told the EDP: 'There have been deaths and serious injuries in crashes in this location, but clearly these deaths don't count. From our point of view, traffic has sped up on that road since the cameras were cut out.'

The Roadside Board, the partnership between Suffolk County Council, police and other agencies, decided earlier this year to keep two cameras on the A12 at Benhall and A140 at Coddenham, but axe cameras on the A1144 at Normanston Drive, Lowestoft, London Road at Brandon, A1304 Hamilton Road at Newmarket and the A140 at Brome following a review into which cameras were most effective in reducing accidents.

The cameras were initially switched off last year after the county council pulled �1m of funding and the police decided they were too expensive for them to run.

However, the cameras were immediately switched on again pending the review into which cameras should remain operational.

In her letter, Ms Norman-Philips said she was concerned about the manner in which data was collected on accidents in areas covered by the cameras, which showed that at Brome there had only been one minor collision during the nine years since the camera was introduced.

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She said the figures for the Brome camera covered a short distance then the statistics for other cameras and did not include two dangerous junctions just outside the 200m radius at Rectory Road, Brome and the B1077 'Devil's Handbasin' where there had been a number of serious accidents, including fatal collisions.

However, councillor Keith Patience, Waveney district councillor for the Normanston area of Lowestoft, was slightly less concerned about the loss of the Normanston Drive camera because a nearby rail crossing caused traffic to build up, which helped to slow vehicles down.

He said the only problem was traffic pulling out of the Higher Drive junction and turning right, saying he would prefer traffic to have to turn left instead and go round the Peto Way roundabout before returning along Normanston Drive.

Reg Sylvester, chairman of Brandon Town Council, cited similar reasons for not opposing the axing of the London Road camera in Brandon because heavy traffic on that stretch of road helped to regulate drivers' speeds.

He added: 'It has never been a bad place for accidents. My concern there is that the camera could have been better used elsewhere in the town, such as Crown Street or Thetford Road.'

Joanna Spicer, the police authority's chairman, said: 'All speed enforcement in the county will be discussed at Suffolk County Council's next Road Safety Partnership meeting in September and the outcome will be fed into a review of the county's speed camera arrangements, which is being carried out by the constabulary later in the year. The concerns of Redlingfield Parish Council will be considered as part of this review.'

She said reducing speeding was still a main priority for the police.

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