UK Climate Change Activists Push for Average Speed Cameras

UK government report advocates blanketing country with average speed cameras to stop global warming.

The UK Sustainable Development Commission yesterday released a report recommending the use of average speed cameras for round-the-clock tracking of motorist journeys nationwide. The government advisory body said that widespread deployment of average speed cameras was required to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by automobiles, a factor that some believe is linked to global changes in temperature. The report made a number of recommendations affecting the driving public.

"The business models associated with private motoring are not aligned with sustainability," the report explained.

The commission suggested that the government take immediate action to encourage the use of mass transit and discourage automobile use in general. Speed cameras were seen as an easy method of accomplishing this goal.


"Enforcing the speed limit has also been shown to be a very cost-effective way of reducing CO2 emissions from road transport with estimates of a reduction of 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide simply by enforcing the 70 MPH speed limit," the report claimed. "In 2009 the Home Office approved average speed cameras to enforce speed limits in urban areas. Cameras are networked together and can be placed at entry and exit points to an area with a fixed speed limit, for example 20 or 30 MPH."

The report also called for a "clear timetable" for the introduction of Intelligent Speed Adaptation technology that would use global positioning satellites to take away control of vehicle speed from the driver, making it impossible for a car to exceed the limit on a given road. The same information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure could be used for congestion pricing, tolling of every journey and charging for insurance by the number of miles driven. The commission explained that such systems would require a substantial and ongoing financial investment.

"ICT does tend to need higher revenue funding to maintain and upgrade systems once in place," the report conceded. "Systems will have continuous running costs and may need regular software updates. Computer hardware can have a working lifetime of as little as five to ten years."

Motoring advocates responded that imposing average speed cameras, often known as SPEC cameras, would reduce safety.

"SPEC systems do nothing for good drivers, making them become zombie-like," Safe Speed co-founder Claire Armstrong said. "Their visual search patterns are altered and compromised, drivers say it is like driving in a fog. They tailgate and stop paying attention, traffic bunches, and drivers become mentally tried, having to spend a disproportionate amount of time concentrating on their speed."

The Association of British Drivers pointed out that much of the climate change rationale that underpins works like that of the Sustainability Commission are based on discredited claims by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"The evidence is now overwhelming that the UN IPCC reports have tried to scare governments into submission with doomsday scenarios -- perhaps to distract them from the poor quality of the 'evidence' supporting their assertion that mankind's CO2 emissions really do drive the climate," ABD Environment spokesman Paul Biggs said. "This is an exercise in global warming alarmism aimed at underpinning 'green' taxes and restrictions on the general public, with a disproportionate focus on drivers."

As evidence, ABD pointed to three recent scandals. In the first, leaked emails from respected climate scientists described how charts were manipulated to "hide the decline" in global temperatures in IPCC reports. ABD then pointed to an IPCC report author's recent admission that the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was false. Finally, the group showed how the IPCC linked the issue of climate change to the severity of disasters such as hurricanes and floods without proper scientific scrutiny.