Lancashire police have said there is no cash available to buy new cameras to catch speeders in 20mph zones - after it was revealed NO drivers have been prosecuted since the zones were introduced.
County Hall has spent £9m rolling out the “Twenty’s Plenty” campaign in residential areas since 2011, in a bid to reduce accidents.
Since the lower speed limit was introduced, there has been no funding available to purchase any new cameras for these areas.
The councillor responsible for roads in Lancashire has confessed the lack of speeding tickets handed out is a “serious concern”, at a time when deaths and serious injuries on the county’s roads have risen by 14 per cent over the past year.
Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways, said: “Since 2012 accident rates have been on the rise, despite the fact the county council has spent a lot of money on 20mph zones.
“Research figures said it would reduce accidents by up to 60 per cent, but it hasn’t done that. So we have to find out why.
“One of the areas that concerns me – and I have raised it with the police – is how many people have been prosecuted for driving faster than 20 mph in a 20 mph zone? None. That is a serious concern.”
Coun Fillis added that following talks with the police on the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, he was told officers would start implementing checks within 20mph zones.
But a statement from Lancashire police today said the force lacked suitable static cameras to check up on motorists in areas where the limit is less than 30mph.
A police spokesman said: “The type of static speed cameras in 20mph zones in Lancashire were originally sited when the roads were designated as 30mph roads and are the only type approved for 30mph zones and above by the government.
“Since the lower speed limit was introduced, there has been no funding available to purchase any new cameras for these areas.
“Despite this, the areas where the 20mph zones were introduced by the council are all areas that should have the look and feel of a 20mph zone, thus gaining compliance by users, and are in the main in the residential areas of Lancashire.
“As a force we are not complacent when it comes to tackling issues around road safety and we continue to work in partnership with the council and with our residents to identify those areas where they feel road safety is an issue.
“In light of changes in demand and austerity measures, we take a targeted approach to policing our roads and focus on areas where the most casualties are recorded and the injuries sustained are the most severe.”
The comments come less than a month after Police Community Support Officers clocked 52 vehicles travelling at more than 25 mph in just two hours on one 20 mph road in Lancaster after complaints from residents about speeding traffic. The drivers all received warning letters, but none were prosecuted.
Road safety sparked a heated debate at last week’s full county council meeting, with both the ruling Labour group and the Tory opposition being accused of using the issue as a “political football.”
Lytham County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for roads and transport in the last Conservative administration, revealed: “When we took control in 2008 we didn’t look at this as much as we should have done. We didn’t even invite the police to the committee.
“In 2010 some independent research was done on children killed or seriously injured on the roads and the worst place in the whole country was Preston. Five out of the worst 10 districts in the land were in Lancashire.
“So we have to do something about this, we just can’t ignore it. At 40mph you (the pedestrian) have a 95 per cent chance of being killed. At 20mph that is reduced to five per cent. That’s why we brought these zones in.”
Coun Bill Winrow added: “I have always been in favour of 20mph limits, but I always believed they wouldn’t work everywhere. That is obviously true and we now need to put in physical changes like cameras where they are not working. That is something we need to be looking at now.”
Lancashire Police declined to comment on why there had been no convictions for speeding, but said: “Lancashire Constabulary is committed to making the roads of Lancashire safer and we are not complacent when it comes to tackling issues around road safety,” said the statement.
“We target the areas were the most casualties are recorded and consult members of the public to identify those areas where they feel road safety is an issue.
“We always endeavour to respond to local concerns in relation to excess speed and we would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with their local neighbourhood teams.”
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “20mph zones are designed to be ‘self-enforcing’ due to traffic calming measures. RoSPA strongly supports 20mph zones as they are very effective at preventing injuries.”
And Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “When highways authorities introduce 20 mph limits they are generally in built-up residential areas or close to school and in response to issues raised.
“It would be unfair to suggest that 20mph zones are not a success.”