SPEED cameras across Solihull and the wider West Midlands will be switched off from next April, it has been announced.
The drastic money-saving measure, backed by seven councils across the region last Friday, has polarised opinion.
Their future has been in doubt since last year, when local authorities had their road safety budgets slashed by central government.
Funding was eventually found to keep some of the devices in use, although two thirds of the region’s 305 fixed cameras are now redundant.
It’s unclear how many of the 32 in the borough are still in use but the plug will be pulled on those that are in less than six months time.
There will, however, be a review into the long-term future of cameras at the worst accident blackspots - where council chiefs could spend £489,000 upgrading the devices to digital.
Councillor David Jamieson, leader of Solihull’s Labour group, had warned last year that the reduced number of roadside speed traps would not survive for long without government help.
“Nationally we have seen an increase in the number of deaths on the roads,” said Coun Jamieson, a former Road Safety Minister. “If the cameras are not there then irresponsible drivers will increase their speed.”
Solihull MP Lorely Burt said: “Speeding is an issue that still really concerns constituents.
“At the moment, even speed cameras that aren’t working act as a deterrent, because drivers can’t be sure which ones are still in use.
“So I think turning them all off would be completely counter-productive.”
Reaction was mixed among our readers, with one resident arguing: “They make criminals of everyone. Speed reminders are just as effective.”
From April, West Midlands Police will rely on mobile cameras installed inside vans to catch drivers breaking speed limits.
In the past year, 37,000 people were caught in this way, compared to 65,133 snapped by the 73 surviving speed cameras.