Daily Telegraph front page: Speeding fines rake in pounds 250,000 a day

Tuesday, 5 May, 2009

SPEEDING tickets earn the Treasury pounds 250,000 every day and the number issued each year has doubled under Labour, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The Government is accused of "milking'' motorists to raise pounds 88 million a year with little improvement in road safety.

Meanwhile, the number of speed cameras across Britain is about to rise. At least six new models, which will take digital pictures and link to a control centre, are set to be approved by the Home Office.

Overall, drivers have been fined almost pounds 1 billion for speeding offences in the past decade, and there has been a thirteen-fold increase in the number of tickets issued by some police forces.

David Ruffley , the Tory police reform spokesman, who obtained the latest figures, said: "Motorists have been treated as a cash cow and milked by a Labour Government. How much is actually put back into alternative road safety measures that do not involve speed cameras like cracking down on the scourge of uninsured drivers?''

The figures indicated that 14.7 million speeding tickets were issued in the 10 years since 1997 and raised pounds 840 million. The most recent data showed that drivers were fined 1,462,235 times in England and Wales in 2007. At pounds 60 each, the fines raised pounds 87,734,100, or pounds 240,367 a day.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The fact that more speeding fines are handed

out every year suggests that speed cameras are more about raising revenue than reducing speeds on the roads. Fining anyone should be about justice, not fundraising.''

Out of 43 police forces, 38 increased the number of fines issued over the decade. Two had a thirteenfold increase. Fines in Warwickshire increased from 1,857 in 1997 to 27,468 in 2007, while Northamptonshire police issued 3,722 fines in 1997 and 48,833 10 years later. Separately, Lancashire police were found to have issued 502,000 fixed penalty notices for speeding since 2001.

Nigel Evans, the Tory MP for Ribble Valley, who uncovered the figure, said that the police were using drivers as "cash machines''. According to the latest figures, for 2007, the number of people killed on Britain's roads was at its lowest level since records began, with 2,940 fatalities.

A Department of Transport spokesman said: "Safety cameras are there to save lives, not make money.''