Calls for speed cameras on A259 between Seaford and Newhaven rejected

A259 Buckle bypass
A259 Buckle bypass

Calls to install speed cameras on the A259 between Seaford and Newhaven have been rejected by East Sussex County Council.

The calls came as part of a petition, signed by more than 200 people, which also sought to lower the speed limit to 40mph in light of a series of serious collisions on the road.

However, in a report council officers said the lower speed limit would require engineering works to be effective and was not considered to be ‘a priority’ compared to other areas.

The report also said the location does not meet the criteria – set by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership – for installing speed cameras.

The final decision was taken by Cllr Bill Bentley, the council’s lead member for communities and safety, at a meeting on Tuesday (July 23). 

Before making his decision, Cllr Bentley heard from lead petitioner Emily O’Brien, who was elected as a Lewes district councillor in May and now sits on the authority’s cabinet as lead member for planning.

Cllr O’Brien had set up the petition after a series of accidents on the road, including one involving her then teenage son.

She said: “I completely understand that, in line with the current policy, the only recommendation you could make is the speed limit shouldn’t be reduced. 

“However, what concerns me is that the policy isn’t taking into account other factors to do with speed and road safety [set out in national guidance].”

Cllr O’Brien also said the accident data considered by the council did not take into account less serious incidents, which did not involve death or injury.

While saying he would agree with the officer’s recommendation, Cllr Bentley invited Cllr O’Brien to work with the county council to look at ways of bringing forward road improvements.

He also noted that the average speeds recorded on the road were around 50mph and spoke about the council’s behavioural insights work, which seeks to change how drivers act.

He said: “I think the criteria we have is based on the way drivers behave.

“When you have witnessed drivers driving at 60mph and above, irrespective of the speed limit posted on the road, they were going to do that anyway. 

“It refers back to the  behavioural insights work the council is doing to try and get drivers to understand the uniqueness of this lovely county we live in and to temper their behaviour on the road.”