County backs our speed camera call

AVERAGE speed cameras for the deadly Forty Foot Bank road came one step closer yesterday (Tuesday). Cambridgeshire County Council s cabinet agreed to support a recommendation for the cameras – and to back an education campaign for safer driving on all Fen

AVERAGE speed cameras for the deadly Forty Foot Bank road came one step closer yesterday (Tuesday).

Cambridgeshire County Council's cabinet agreed to support a recommendation for the cameras - and to back an education campaign for safer driving on all Fen roads.

Part of the safety campaign would be to advise drivers how to escape from the water if their cars went into the river.

A council spokesman denied that this was to accept the fact that the 47 kilometres of Fenland roads, that run alongside a drain could not be made safe.

He said that, for example, people might try to release their seat belts as they went into the water. In fact, it was safer to keep the seat belt on

because that would stop people hitting their heads on impact and becoming

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unconscious.

The council has taken action after a campaign by The Hunts Post following five deaths on the road between Ramsey and Chatteris in six weeks between December and February.

Another car went into the river last month but the teenage driver and passenger managed to escape.

The council spokesman said that most people whose cars went into the river did manage to escape.

The council made a study of the road - and driver behaviour - amid the clamour after the deaths of a seven-year-old-boy and his father, Jordan and Dean Hawes, from Chatteris, on December 21, and the deaths of three Portuguese farm workers on February 1.

A survey by police in March found that 82 per cent of drivers went over the 50mph speed limit, going up to 118mph.

More than 3,700 drivers use the road every day.

At yesterday's meeting, Norman Cross councillor Mac McGuire, lead member for highways, said: "The speed of traffic on that road is ridiculous. Even at 6pm, drivers were caught going at over 100mph."

Councillor John Reynolds, who chaired the meeting, said police would be encouraged to take more action against speeding drivers on the road and bring some high-profile prosecutions.

Susan Normington, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council and a Ramsey councillor, said speeding was the main cause of accidents in Ramsey Forty Foot and Ramsey Heights.

"Speeding should be seen for what it is - selfish and dangerous and socially unacceptable."

Councillor Geoffrey Harper, who represents Forty Foot, said average speed cameras were "the most practical and effective solution for curtailing speed on this dangerous highway, high above the drain".

He said the county council's scoring mechanism did not place the Forty Foot Bank at the top of black spot priorities, but it was a special case because the driver - or the person in front of the driver - did not have many options.

Before the speed cameras are put in place, the recommendation must be approved by traffic management committeesin Huntingdonshire and Fenland and then beat rival schemes put back before the county council cabinet in December.

The cameras could then be installed next year. The cost is estimated at between £250,000 and £300,000.

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