Average speed cameras go live in Leicestershire villages, including in the Harborough district

Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, in Walcote
Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for environment and transport, in Walcote

The county council is stepping up its campaign to keep the fines from a 12-month average speed camera trial, which could then lead to a further roll-out of average speed cameras across Leicestershire.

Seven sites, including Walcote on the A4303 near Lutterworth, have already been identified for the trial.

The cameras were switched on this week in Walcote, plus two other Leicestershire sites in Sharnford, Measham.

Other cameras in Oadby, Groby, Woodhouse Eaves and Freeby will become operational over the next month.As the switch-on starts, county council leader Nick Rushton has made a direct approach to the Government, asking it to consider allowing the council to retain the money generated from speeding fines to cover the installation and running costs of the average speed cameras.

Once the costs have been met, the fines would then revert to the Government. Currently, all the money generated through camera fines is retained by HM Treasury.

Cllr Rushton said: "We want the county's roads to be as safe as they can be - we owe it to the communities who are affected by speeding motorists.

"If the trial is a success, we'd want to roll it out further, but that's not currently possible, so I'm hoping someone in HM Treasury will listen to our case and I'd welcome further talks.

In a letter to Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Cllr Rushton said the scheme being piloted in Leicestershire would "reduce deaths and casualties, increase long-term revenue for the Treasury and enable Central Government to provide a visible and tangible benefit to local communities".

He also outlined that the trial will lead to a fall in the use of road humps which complies with Government advice for their removal as an anti-pollution measure.

The speed camera trial has also won the backing of county MPs. The 12-month trial and enforcement will cost around £500,000.