10/07/2012 06:27 BST | Updated 10/07/2012 06:29 BST

Speed Cameras Increase Despite Cutbacks, RAC Foundation Finds

Motorists are still having to contend with thousands of speed camera sites despite funding cutbacks, it was revealed on Tuesday.

There are actually more fixed speed camera sites in England now than there were in 2010, according to statistics gathered by the RAC Foundation from a Freedom of Information request.

But the number of cameras that actually take pictures has fallen from 529 in 2010 to 487 in 2012.

Of the 32 administrative bodies that used fixed speed cameras and who responded to the request, 10 said they had made no change to the level of provision of camera sites. Several others registered only small changes in provision over the past two years.

In only two areas - Avon & Somerset and Wiltshire & Swindon - have all operational cameras been switched off.

Not all organisations answered all the questions put by the RAC Foundation.

But from the information given, the number of fixed speed camera sites in 2012 was 2,331 compared with 2010 to 2,188 in 2012.

At these sites there might be more than one camera housing, with one housing facing one way and the other the other way.

There were 3,026 fixed speed camera housings in 2012 compared with 3,039 in 2010.

Transport for London had 526 camera sites in 2012, while West Midlands Safety Partnership had 304, Blackpool Council had 282 and Thames Valley had 245.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Many people believe there has been a mass switch-off of cameras over the past couple of years. But the data shows that overall this is simply not true.

"Our best evidence is that if all speed cameras were turned off around 80 more people would be killed on the roads each year with 700 others seriously injured. Therefore we welcome these figures which suggest the majority of fixed cameras have been retained and housings are being kept in place to act as a deterrent."

He went on: "Although there are many more housings than cameras, it seems that the cameras are regularly rotated between them ensuring there is some level of positive enforcement at most sites.

"It is also important to note that many police constabularies rely heavily on mobile cameras to catch law breakers and in many cases have now have an increased emphasis on this type of operation."

Prof Glaister said the foundation was concerned that funds would not be available to purchase new equipment "to replace increasingly antiquated film cameras".

He continued: "There is a lack of money for all aspects of road safety and we urge councillors to allocate adequate budgets to protect people on the roads by whatever means is appropriate.

"Recent figures showing that deaths on the road rose in 2011, for the first time since 2003, only reinforce the need to retain the focus on road safety."