Exmouth residents voice concern over camera switch-off

Exmouth residents have voiced their concern that speed cameras are to be turned off in the town

ANGRY Exmouth residents believe lives will be put at risk having discovered speed cameras are to be switched off because of financial cut-backs.

Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership, the organisation which operates speed-monitoring devices, is under threat of closure following news the Government has decided to slash funding it gives to the body.

Plans have been made to wind up the partnership by March 2011 and around 40 members of staff have been warned their jobs are under threat.

The two static cameras in the town are on the A376 just before the ‘welcome to Exmouth’ sign and on Salterton Road. They are scheduled to be switched off next spring.

Beryl Argent, a pensioner who lives near the camera on Exeter Road, is not in favour of the decision.

She said: “It is difficult now getting out of the driveway with all the traffic when motorists speed. They go above 30 along this road – some appear to do as much as 60mph.

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“They slow down and then speed up the hill towards Exmouth and drive fast in the opposite direction, towards Exeter.

“It will put lives at risk (switching the cameras off) because of the cross road with people coming out of Rivermead Avenue.”

Daniel Western, 35, who also lives on Exeter Road, added: “The camera benefits me living here. Without it, the cars won’t slow down.”

Devon and Cornwall Police say cameras have helped reduce road casualties by 40 per cent in the last five years.

Road Peace, a national charity which supports road crash victims, believed the move would be a ‘backwards step and a disaster.’

Jeff Baker, who works for Road Peace, and whose son was killed in a crash, said: “I think it’s devastating - it’s going to cost lives.”

A spokesman for the partnership said: “In the short term, safety camera enforcement will continue in Devon and Cornwall with fewer resources.

“It is hoped that some form of funding can be established before the end of the year in order to maintain this programme that has contributed significantly to the overall reduction in deaths and serious injuries.”

Reassuring people who have concerns over speeding drivers, PC Dave Evans, said officers at Exmouth police station will continue to take action.

“As always we will be continue to address concerns of the community. If they are speeding, we will carry on conducting speed operations and checks,” he said.