§ 10. Mr. David Amess(Con) (Southend, West)
If he will make a statement on the use of revenue derived from speed cameras. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. David Jamieson)
A portion of the fixed-penalty receipts deriving from offences detected on speed cameras is available to partnerships made up of police forces, local highway authorities and magistrates courts committees to cover their approved costs for purchasing, placing and operating cameras to enforce speed limits. I am sure the hon. Gentleman has noticed the reduction in the number of deaths and injuries at camera sites in Southend.
§ Mr. Amess
Does the Minister realise that there is a growing crisis of public confidence in the fairness of speed cameras and speed traps? People feel that they can be criminalised for being caught doing 31 mph, but that if they are burgled or mugged it is unlikely that the criminal will be caught. Will the Minister take this opportunity to reassure the public in Essex, and in Southend in particular, that this is not just a revenue-raising exercise and that the money is genuinely being reinvested in our roads and in road safety generally?
§ Mr. Jamieson
I can tell the hon. Gentleman that in recent years we have spent much more on roads in his area than the Government he supported ever did. I can also tell him that during the three years before a camera was fitted at Puttlewell Chase—which is in his area—there were 17 personal injury accidents, three of which involved people being killed or seriously injured. During the last three years there have been only nine personal injury accidents, and no one has been killed or seriously injured. I also have figures relating to Basildon, in case the hon. Gentleman retains a lasting interest in it.
We know from evidence that, on average, there are 35 per cent. fewer deaths and serious injuries at camera sites. It would surely be irresponsible to suggest that we should remove cameras or not install them on sites where casualties are being caused.
§ Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) (Lab)
May I invite the Minister to stand resolutely firm against the speeding motorists lobby? We are all subjected to a barrage of nonsense from people who think that it is somehow all right to speed through residential areas, past primary schools, and to increase the terrible rate of death on our roads. Will the Minister ensure that the speed cameras stay, that 25 mph limits are applied in urban areas, and that we do not give in to this dangerous lobby in favour of an activity that is just as unacceptable as drunken driving?
§ Mr. Jamieson
All our policies on road safety must be proportionate and sensible. Cameras are located at sites where there is clearly a relationship between speeding and people being killed or seriously injured. If casualties are sustained for other reasons, it is up to the local authority to consider other solutions by using the generous amounts of money that we have made available through the local transport plans. Such solutions may mean re-engineering, changing the road 616 layout or considering road humps, which we discussed earlier. We must examine proportionately and sensibly what is right for the particular circumstances. Speed cameras have a role to play in areas in which speeding is clearly the problem.
§ Mr. Christopher Chope(Con) (Christchurch)
Has the Minister seen the figures published today that show that in 1999 the revenue from speed cameras in London was £500,000, and that in 2004 it is expected to be no less than £10 million? A twenty-fold increase in income in five years is extraordinary. Does that not prove our point that they are not so much speed cameras as greed cameras?
§ Mr. Jamieson
I remind the House that the hon. Gentleman introduced speed cameras when he was Minister for Roads and Traffic. Who am I to take the credit away from him for doing that? At the time, he predicted that 2 million people would get fixed-penalty tickets, but it has taken 10 years to reach that point. He should reflect on my challenge to the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Green) to come forward with the 4,000 sites that he says do not meet the criteria. One month has gone by and as yet we have had no response.
The hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) may want to take note of the 18 per cent. reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured at sites where there are cameras in his constituency. Last year, he called for a camera site in Golf Links road in his constituency to be reactivated.
§ Mr. David Kidney(Lab) (Stafford)
Will my hon. Friend resist calls by lawbreakers to reduce the effectiveness of detecting their lawbreaking? Will he confirm that no one who keeps to legal speed limits must pay a fine?
§ Mr. Jamieson
That is, of course, true, and my hon. Friend knows that the speed thresholds are set well above the speed limit. If the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) can show me a notification of proposed prosecution for a person who has been charged with doing 31 mph or 32 mph in a 30 mph zone, I would be interested to see it. I have put that challenge out and as yet nobody has shown me such a notification.