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Oxfordshire's speed cameras to be axed

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Every speed camera in an entire county looks set to disappear following central government funding cuts, it has been disclosed.

Oxfordshire CC is cutting its funding to the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership by £600,000 in a bid to meet £11m savings.

It has resulted in the partnership taking steps to cease all enforcement in the county and switch off its 72 fixed speed cameras, possibly as soon as 1 August.

The government said it was delivering its pledge to “end the war on the motorist” by following through its promise to end central funding for fixed speed cameras.

But road safety campaigners fear other councils struggling to make ends meet could follow suit, resulting in lives being put at risk.

Every week three people are killed and more than 150 are injured on roads in the Thames Valley, according to statistics from the partnership.

Oxfordshire’s leader Keith Mitchell (Con), said these were difficult choices but that the level of savings needed to be made were “unheard of”.

He said today: “This is a controversial area. Swindon, for example, cut its speed cameras last year and they have not noticed any change in accidents.

“This is just the very start, however. We are going to have to accept that over the next four years difficult decisions will continue to be made.”

He added that the authority was not in a position to increase council tax bills and that other areas of council spending would be looked at.

Councillors at a special meeting will vote on whether to ratify the move to scrap the funding on Tuesday.

Ministers acknowledged that “difficult choices” must be made but they hoped councils would use available funds for other road safety measures.

Road safety minister Mike Penning (Con) said: “Local authorities have relied too heavily on safety cameras for far too long so I am pleased that some councils are now focusing on other measures to reduce road casualties.

“Although I recognise that the reduction of the road safety grant means that difficult choices must be made, I would hope that councils will use the funds available to put in place new measures to tackle road safety problems.”

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