A PLEDGE to trial the use of fixed speed cameras in North Yorkshire in Cowling has been made by the Labour candidate for the area’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

Alison Hume, one of four candidates in next week’s election, says despite concerted efforts over recent years, North Yorkshire continues to have one of the highest accident rates in the country.

Ms Hume, following a visit to Cowling and its anti-speeding action group 4#30, said she believes the reliance on police camera safety vans and a low rate of prosecution is hampering efforts to stop speeding and ‘killer drivers.’

“Residents are telling me that virtually nothing is being done to stop a significant minority of car, van and motorcycle drivers tearing through their villages at alarming and dangerous speeds,” she said.

“ I visited Cowling and witnessed the high speeds for myself. I also spoke to residents who have been campaigning for years to be heard and are tired of shouting into a vacuum”.

Ms Hume said it was not just residents at risk but also pedestrians, cyclists and people with visible and invisible disabilities who have the right to be safe and protected from speeding and dangerous driving.

“It is clear that safety camera vans only work when they are in situ,” she said. “The rest of the time it is a free for all, putting lives at risk. North Yorkshire is one of a handful of police forces who do not have any fixed speed cameras. Why? If elected I’ll urgently review our road safety policy as part of my pledge to make our communities safer. I’ll begin by recommending a trial f fixed speed cameras in Cowling.”

Ms Hume added that with more than 1,400 villages in North Yorkshire, a criteria would need to be introduced for communities to qualify for fixed or average speed cameras.

“I understand policing the 6,000 miles of North Yorkshire’s often remote and rural roads is a huge and challenging job, but the time has come to listen to the people who actually live in the villages - rather than telling them that there aren’t not enough people dying on the roads to warrant the investment”.

Gillian Taylor from Cowling 4 #30 said "The 30mph signs are largely ignored and we’ve seen speeds in excess of 60mph through the village on a daily basis. We have a lot of video footage to back this up. A speed watch group was set up several years back and then replaced with mobile speed vans but they’re only effective when they are deployed - and when it isn’t dark”.

James Barker, the Liberal Democrat candidate for PFCC said: “I have pledged that, if elected, I will oversee a review of North Yorkshire Police's approach to enforcing speed limits. This would include reviewing how mobile speed cameras are deployed and revisiting the issue of fixed speed cameras.

“The key question is do speed cameras help to encourage better driver behaviour and make roads safer? An LSE study has showed that from 1992 to 2016, speed cameras reduced accidents by between 17 per cent to 39 per cent and reduced fatalities by between 58 per cent to 68 per cent. So there is evidence that they have a beneficial impact.

“A Populus poll undertaken for the AA in 2019 asked its members if it was acceptable to use speed cameras to identify vehicles involved in speeding offences, and eight out of 10 said yes. So there seems to be a broad consensus that speed cameras are only considered a burden by bad drivers.”

Philip Allott, (Conservative) said : “I want a more flexible approach to the existing 12 mobile speed vans and the motor cycle unit as they always tend to go to the same locations. If elected I will be looking for them to be more in the villages, country roads and towns in North Yorkshire as requested by councillors and community leaders.

“Whilst I don’t generally support fixed post speed cameras because speeding motorists become street wise, I will support specific locations if there is a special case and the county council is in agreement."

Keith Tordoff, (Independent) said he had also been speaking to people in Cowling and everyone he had spoken to had raised the issue of speeding motorists.

“ If elected tackling speeding motorists will be a priority. Where there is a problem with speeding motorists, I would work with all concerned parties and if after evaluation there is a case for fixed or average speed cameras I would support the case.

"If elected I will be working with people in making North Yorkshire, a safe place to live, work or visit."

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election takes place on Thursday, May 6, the same day as by-elections to Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, and some parish councils.