Speed cameras – it’s official – they are good earners!

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The speed camera is one of the more hated road side additions of recent years, always capable of getting people into a rage – especially if they have been ‘nicked’!

I am not anti speed cameras if they are used to save lives – red light cameras are an undoubted safety addition to our city streets and some speed cameras are in areas that can save lives. The ‘specs’ average speed cameras work well on the Nottingham ring road, traffic flows and accidents are rare. But, we have numerous cameras around the country that appear only for raising funds – and now some figures have been released that show just how much a speed camera can take in fines;

The figures were obtained via a Freedom of Information request from The Sun.
UK’s top earning speed traps
  • 1. Hertfordshire: A1 southbound (J4-3) £568,080
  • 2. Hampshire: A3 Anglesea Road, Portsmouth £386,640
  • 3. London: A40 Western Avenue £359,280
  • 4. Manchester: M60 (J25) £329,760
  • 5. Hull: A1165 £303,120
  • 6. West Midlands: A34 Great Barr £270,000
  • 7. Kent: A21 Tonbridge bypass £245,520
  • 8. West Mercia: A40 Lea £231,840
  • 9. Lincolnshire: A1 Colsterworth £219,600
  • 10. Nottinghamshire: A1 Elkesley £208,800
So, some serious income from these cameras, but what would be interesting to see is if there is any evidence to support a drop in road accidents in these locations. If not they are rather lucrative for the local force!
Interestingly my home County of Wiltshire removed cameras from Swindon last year  – only to start reusing them again this year (as the cuts started to bite!).

Elephants in Nottinghamshire?

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OK, so not actual Elephants – but Elephant grass.

tall grass!

Nottinghamshire County Council are growing the crop at a former landfill site at Fiskerton and is the first of its kind by a local authority.

Elephant grass is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa and South Asia. It has shallow roots which means it does not penetrate waste within soil that is contaminated on brownfield sites. The grass has the highest energy-giving properties per hectare of any biofuel crop it’s an ideal way of transforming areas like the former landfill site at Fiskerton into income generators. It is also popular with ‘green reformers’ as it doesn’t compete with food crop production and is therefore seen as a ‘second generation’ bio fuel.

The elephant grass grown at the site could earn the council £4,000 a year. The crop, which grows up to 3m (10ft) high, can be made into a biofuel and sold to power stations. Once established the first crop will be harvested in 2013.

If successful, the scheme could be rolled out to other sites that cannot be farmed for food

The council received a grant from Natural England, towards the costs of planting and establishing the crop.

We have a County flag – why?

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A new county flag has been flown in Nottinghamshire for the first time. During an official launch, the green, red and white flag was raised at Nottingham Castle, Newark Castle and in Mansfield Market Place.

The design, which has been registered by the Flag Institute, was chosen by people who took part in an online vote on the BBC website. The idea to create a new flag came from BBC Radio Nottingham.

Two listeners contacted Andy Whittaker’s breakfast show, saying the county needed a flag for the Nottinghamshire public to fly. The presenter mentioned the idea on air and was apparently overwhelmed with the level of positive response, with people ringing in to his show and sending in their designs.

A panel of judges came up with the final design by combining elements from various ideas submitted to the radio station. The flag incorporates St George’s cross on a green background, and a shield with the Robin Hood emblem in its centre.

There is no official flag for the county but this is the only flag for Nottinghamshire registered with the Flag Institute. Apparently the Flag Institute maintains and manages the national registry of United Kingdom flags and this flag complies with its strict UK Flag Registry criteria.

My question would be ‘why do we need it?’ We have various logos for the City and County and this in my view just complicates the marketing of the City and County. Or am I just being grumpy?

Enterprise Zones – an economic saviour?

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The chancellor will apparently announce in the forthcoming budget that new enterprise zones (EZ’s) will be established in ‘areas of England that have been hit hard by the economic downturn’ – mainly in parts of the Midlands and the North – The East Midlands benefited from a number of EZ’s after the demise of the mining industry in the last round – will we benefit again?

Over to you George...

The idea behind enterprise zones is simple: cut taxes and strip back planning rules in small areas to attract new businesses and create new jobs. Thirty eight zones were established between 1981 and 1996 – the most famous was the Isle of Dogs in London’s docklands – now Canary Wharf. However locally we had a number, Sherwood Park probably being the best known.

The zones undoubtably did help – certain areas would just not have developed due to market forces alone – for example some of the zones in Mansfield, such as Crown Farm. And Sherwood Park is now a fantastic and highly successful office and industrial development.

There has over the years been some ‘think tank’ work done on Enterprise Zones which has suggested otherwise – but this centred on the South and the Docklands area and does not therefore in my opinion have much relevance to the Midlands and North (like much research by the Government).

The reduced business rates, simplified planning rules and less regulation is likely to cost the Treasury around £100m over the next four years – in the overall scheme of things not a great deal – lets just hope it is enough and that the East Midlands benefits again.

Common sense cost saving – and its green!

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As we are seeing cost cutting across the country in various forms it is good to see one that actually makes sense and is green!

The local councils have finally agreed a timetable on a scheme to dim or switch off thousands of street lights in Nottinghamshire. The project, which involves 93,000 lights and is expected to save in the region of £1m a year. The program will start in villages in the Misterton area this December, it with then be extended to the Bingham area in January and Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe districts by December 2011.

Nottingham at night – pretty – but unnecessary!

Other provisional dates are Newark & Sherwood and Gedling districts by November 2012, then the Mansfield and Broxtowe districts by November 2013 and finally the Ashfield district by March 2014.  (not quite sure why it takes so long to put in place in these districts?)

As one would expect of our paranoid local authorities a risk assessment will be done for every light and the most appropriate option used (dim, switch off or leave on). Many lights will not be altered, including those near hospitals and accident black spots, the council are working closely with the emergency services and will monitor the project to make sure crime and collision rates do not rise.

Some lights will be dimmed between 2000 and 0700, others dimmed between midnight and 0530 and some switched off entirely – changes which could cut energy use by 25%.

As well as saving money, the scheme will cut carbon emissions and light pollution.

This all has to make sense – for years we have left the lights burning away at night on our streets – and for whom? Cutting power use, light pollution and generally giving us back the darkness has to be applauded!