Background to Netting-off for Speed Camera Funding
Enforcement cameras were first introduced into
the UK in 1991. A number of research studies have proved that
they are an extremely effective measure for reducing road casualties.
A cost-benefit analysis in 1996 (Hooke et al 1996) showed
that cameras paid for themselves five times in the first year
of operation alone, once the full benefits to society are consideredincluding
to the Health Service.
There is an established relationship between
reducing speed and reducing collisions: research by TRL (Finch
et al 1994) showed that just a one mph reduction in speed
reduces collisions by 5 per cent. This figure has now been validated
in a more recent study in 2000 also by TRL (Taylor et al 2000).
In December 1998, the then DETR, Home Office
and HM Treasury agreed that fixed penalty fine income from speed
and red light cameras, collectively referred to as "Safety
Cameras", could be used to fund additional camera enforcementa
recommendation for the original 1996 report. This process was
termed hypothecation, although "netting off" is a more
technically correct term that is now always used.
Because of the complexity of the arrangements
and relationships that were needed to make netting-off work, it
was decided to pilot the approach in a number of areas. The pilots
aimed to demonstrate how best to develop a workable relationship
between local partnerships comprising local police forces, highways
authorities, magistrates' courts and, where appropriate, the Highways
Agency. It was also necessary to ensure robust linkages with the
many central government departments involved.
In 1999 thirteen areas submitted bids to pilot
the scheme and eight were selected reflecting a balance of geographies,
casualty problems and also different approaches to enfocement.
The areas chosen were Cleveland, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottingham,
Northamptonshire, South Wales, Strathclyde and Thames Valley.
These pilots went live in April 2000 and have
been monitored against a number of criteria. The main criteria
Speed and casualtycan the
partnerships demonstrate an effect on speed and casualties in
Public acceptancedoes the
public acknowledge that the primary reason for speed and red-light
cameras is road safety?
Financial aspectshave the financial
arrangements worked without distorting operational priorities?
Following the success of the eight pilot schemes
the Government decided to extend the scheme Nationally, starting
in England and Wales, and this was announced in August 2001. The
rules for National roll-out are based on those used for the eight
pilots with some changes based on experience, and a new requirement
to make the cameras more visible and conspicuous to drivers. To
date seven new partnerships have been accepted into the scheme
and are currently coming on line. These are: Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire,
Lancashire, Norfolk, North Wales, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
Roll-out arrangements for Scotland differ from those in England
and Wales due to the separate legal and administrative rules affecting
Scotland, and roll-out is expected to follow during 2002.
The executive summary of the first year report
of the pilot schemes (Gains et al 2001) is available from
the DTLR website under road safety.
It was important when setting up the systems
for "netting off" that arrangements were put in place
to prevent potential abuse or distortion of priorities. Detailed
rules about participating in the scheme were developed for the
pilots and these have been adhered to throughout. Based on the
experience of the pilots they have been enhanced, including new
requirements about the visibility and conspicuity of safety cameras
In summary, the rules for roll-out are as follows:
Partnerships should be made up of
the local highway authorities, the courts and the police, and
in future include the local Health Authority. In some cases the
Highways Agency and Crown Prosecution Service may be a member.
Only costs relating to speed and
red-light camera enforcement are considered to be allowable expenditurethe
rules are set out in a handbook issued to partnerships that details
what is considered to be allowable expenditure.
No organisation is allowed to make
a "profit" out of the scheme. Any surplus of fine income
over costs incurred must be returned to the Treasury.
All cameras should be located in
casualty hot spots with a history of speed-related collisions.
Speed surveys should be conducted
prior to camera operation to prove that speeding is a problem
at each site.
At the end of the year partnerships
are subject to a full audit by the district auditor. This will
examine how the money has been spent. Failure to receive a clean
audit certificate could result in removal of the privilege to
retain the funds.
Cameras shall be visible and conspicuous
to drivers, with fixed site housings coloured yellow in most circumstances
and mobile enforcement sites required to use marked vehicles and
operatives wearing high visibility clothing.
Signs warning of the presence of
fixed and mobile cameras shall be placed within one kilometre
of fixed sites and at the start of a targeted route for mobile
Project managementThe Project Board
It was decided before embarking on the netting-off
pilot programme that the wide range of governmental and institutional
interests involved in speed and red-light camera enforcement must
participate in the decision making processes. Because the primary
objective was to improve road safety and reduce casualties the
project management lead would be with DTRL (was DETR initially).
A Safety Camera Project Board was established early in 1999, chaired
and serviced by DTLR, and continues to oversee the project. Officials
from the following organisations are members of the Project Board:
DTLR, The Highways Agency, Lord Chancellor's Department, HM Treasury,
the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, Scottish Executive,
National Assembly for Wales ACPO and local authority representation
by the CSS and LGA.
To assist itself and the Project Board, DTLR
appointed PA Consulting Group as project managers to manage the
day to day running of the project, to provide professional advice
and to advise the Project Board about progress and performance
of the pilots areas, and the new areas now joining the scheme.
New partnership areas are coming on line with the decision by
ministers to roll-out the scheme Nationally from August 2001,
and they are also subject to the performance monitoring and auditing.