DRIVERs will be able to find out which speed cameras in their area rake in the most money under plans outlined by the Government.
Already the Government has cut 38m of the 95m that had been due to go to local authorities this financial year for road safety – meaning that no new cameras will be installed and, in some cases, some will even be removed.
Now, under the proposals announced yesterday by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning, councils and the police will have to publish full information about the speed cameras they currently have.
Information to be revealed could include data about accident rates, vehicle speeds and the numbers of motorists prosecuted or offered training after offences recorded by speed cameras. Those details will be available to the public by April next year.
Mr Penning said: "Public bodies should be accountable and if taxpayers' money is being spent on speed cameras then it is right that information about their effectiveness is available to the public.
"The proposals I have announced will help show what impact cameras are having on accident and casualty rates and also how the police are dealing with offenders.
"This is in line with our commitment to improve transparency of Government data so that the public are able to make more informed judgments about the work of local and central government."
The Department for Transport will be working with police, local authorities and the Highways Agency to discuss what information should be published and how.
It is thought that one speed camera on the M11 near east London has produced fines of more than 2m over five years and that other camera sites have also resulted in fines of many thousands of pounds a year.
The AA's head of road safety, Andrew Howard, said the motoring organisation had "always supported transparency as a way of making cameras publicly acceptable".
The executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, Robert Gifford, said: "I am completely comfortable with this. It is the sort of things better road safety partnerships will have been doing."
The director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Neil Greig, said: "A recent IAM survey showed that, while speed cameras overall had a 70 per cent approval rating, nearly half of respondents believed revenue generation through fines was the main motive behind their installation. More transparent information that clearly links speed cameras to fewer deaths and serious injuries will be an excellent way of persuading the doubters that they do deliver."
In South Yorkshire, the county's Safer Roads Partnership has already warned that the spending cuts could result in some cameras being removed, to save on the costs of staff travelling to and from camera sites to check and replace the film.
Four cameras in the Rotherham area will be hooded with covers, to allow experts to assess driver behaviour when it is clear the equipment is not functioning.
The organisation has also been forced to scrap plans to replace outdated "wet film" speed cameras with new digital technology.
Partnership manager Ken Wheat said the funding cuts – which amount to around 600,000 of the partnership's 2m budget – could lead to an increase in accidents.
He added: "There is no doubt that if we don't spend as much money on road safety as we otherwise would have done then more people will be injured on the roads than otherwise would have been."
The West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, meanwhile, has suffered a 840,000 funding cut which means no new speed cameras will be installed in the county.