A speed camera on the A1 in Northumberland which has been out of action for six weeks has prompted calls for the authorities responsible for the devices to get their priorities right.
The camera on a single carriageway stretch of the road north of Morpeth was damaged by fire in mid January and has yet to be repaired.
The situation has sparked criticism from a local councillor who claims the road’s accident record should make the repair a matter of urgency.
He has also accused the authorities responsible for cameras of appearing to be more interested in making money than improving road safety, based on their use of resources.
The camera at Hebron was set on fire on January 14 but has yet to be repaired.
Northumberland county councillor for Longhorsley Glen Sanderson last night said the camera should be returned to use as soon as possible, given the stretch of road’s notorious accident record.
He also cited the fact the camera is located less than a mile after the road changes from dual to single carriageway, and that there are junctions on either side in close proximity.
Coun Sanderson argued those responsible for speed cameras in the region have their priorities wrong.
At the same time as the Hebron device has been out of action, mobile devices have operated at Pottery Bank just north of Morpeth, a road with a low accident record where over 2,300 offences were captured last year, yet have rarely been deployed on the more dangerous A697.
Coun Sanderson said: “If the intention is to promote road safety and reduce accidents why is that speed camera outside Morpeth and not on the A697 and why has it taken since January 14 to mend that fixed camera on one of the most dangerous roads and junctions in the UK.
“This SRI (Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative, a partnership of Northumbria Police and six councils which deploys cameras) looks to be a simple money making organisation, it has lost its sense of priorities.”
Last night, a spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said the camera at Hebron is the responsibility of the SRI, although it is responsible for the housing of the device.
“We are looking into the extent of the damage. If it is anything to do with the camera it is a matter for the camera partnership.”
Northumbria’s motor patrols acting chief inspector John Heckels said: “Our priority is public safety on our roads and the use of speed cameras provides a visible deterrent to speeding drivers and reassurance to careful drivers, they are a useful and important tool in helping keep our roads safer for everyone.
“The locations of where they are placed is based on a number of factors and are mainly in areas where there have been a number of collisions where speeding has been a factor, or on roads that have been highlighted by local residents.
“The deployment strategy which determines which sites will be visited and how often is drawn up in consultation between police and partner agencies to ensure the camera delivers a real road safety benefit.”
Meanwhile, The Journal has been told another camera on the A1 in the county, at Charlton Mires, North of Alnwick is also out of action.