Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:07 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Hanningfield Lord Hanningfield Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport 3:07 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, before I begin I should first declare an interest as the leader of Essex County Council. Noble Lords will recall that this new clause is designed to enhance local road safety measures by permitting the hypothecation of surplus income from safety camera enforcement for expenditure by relevant local transport authorities on road safety measures. In short, it is intended to provide a source of funding that will enable local expertise to be translated into local road safety initiatives in a manner that is both responsive to and commensurate with the character of local problems.

My noble friend Lady Hanham moved a similar amendment in Committee and its considerable merits were duly debated. However, in the intervening period my attention has been drawn to an article published in the Times on 5 November entitled:

"March of the Speed Cameras Halted".

I was interested to read that, according to the author of the piece, when the Department for Transport publishes its annual report on the safety camera partnership scheme, it is to,

"announce reforms to the way in which the partnerships are managed and funded".

The article went on to state that these reforms would abolish the current practice of recycling speeding fines into the funding of new speed camera installations. Instead they would enable safety camera partnerships to use surplus revenue generated from enforcement,

" . . . in all aspects of road safety. Rather than being restricted to erecting more cameras, the partnerships would be able to use the money to make junctions safer and to improve the visibility of signs and road markings".

Those proposals sound remarkably familiar. I assume that the Minister has taken on board the logic of the original amendment and, if that is the case, I commend him on his farsightedness. However, as I have been unable to locate any official comment, documentation or amendments to that effect, I ask him to make clear the Government's intention on this important road safety issue. I beg to move.