A TRIAL of hi-tech speed cameras in one of the borough's 20mph zones could begin next year.

Transport for London (TfL) have proposed testing the devices, which would digitally monitor the average speed of a vehicle, as a way of tackling road casualties and providing an alternative to speed humps.

Last Christmas it was revealed that Hale End Road in Highams Park was one location being considered for the trial, which may also operate in Camden, Hackney and Southwark, but this is the first time a possible timescale has been announced.

TfL have also this month started to approach firms that could supply the technology, although funding for the scheme hinges on the outcome of the Government's comprehensive spending review in October.

Road safety campaigners, such as 'Freewheeler' of the Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest website, have welcomed the proposals.

He said: "This is brilliant news.

"The traffic calming in 20mph zones is plainly failing to curb vehicle speeds in Waltham Forest, especially when they involve rubber speed cushions.

"I was recently in a minicab and the driver was doing 40mph in the Church Hill 20mph zone."

A TfL spokesman said: “Across London, we have seen the number of collisions more than halve at locations where speed cameras have been installed.

"This has helped contribute to a 52 per cent decrease in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads since the mid to late nineties.

“TfL is working with a number of London boroughs on a potential trial of average speed camera technology, in order to reduce road casualties in residential areas. As part of this, we have recently published a pre-qualification questionnaire to find out which companies could deliver this technology.

"Average speed camera technology could help reduce the number of accidents on roads with high numbers of speed-related collisions, and act an alternative to road humps."

He added: “As with many of TfL’s projects, the delivery of this is dependent on the outcome of the Government’s spending review in October. Subject to this, our intention would be to start installing this technology next year."

A council spokesman said: "TfL has recently gone out to tender on four sites, one of which one is Hale End Road. We are currently awaiting the outcome, as it is not guaranteed that all four sites will go ahead."

Waltham Forest’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “The Council has been working extremely hard to reduce the number of road accidents on the borough’s streets, and in the last financial year has managed to reduce the number of accidents [in which people are killed or seriously injured] from 88 to 58.

“While we’re extremely proud of this reduction, we also know that one injury is one too many and that we have to explore new ideas if we’re to ensure pedestrians and motorists are as safe as possible.

"We think that average speed cameras could help us reduce the number of accidents even further, and hope that TfL decide to trial this scheme in Waltham Forest.”

What do you think? Leave your comments below or contact reporter Daniel Binns on 0779 547 6625 or via email at dbinns@london.newsquest.co.uk

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