SPEED cameras in Essex could be switched off for good as the county council reviews its budget.

No final decision has been made, but a spokesman for Essex County Council confirmed it would be looking into the future of speed cameras, which have become a fixture on the county’s roads.

The news has been met with a mixture of fear and optimism by road safety and motoring groups and follows changes in Swindon and Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire became the first county to turn off all its cameras on Sunday when it stopped using all 72 fixed-poisition ones.

They were turned off after the Government reduced funding for road safety schemes.

It follows the decision in Swindon to turn them off, but there is a campaign there to have them switched back on.

Essex cameras first appeared in 1992, but have proved controversial, with some claiming they increase danger.

Claire Armstrong, co-founder of Safe Speed, applauded Essex County Council for considering scrapping them.

She said: “We are delighted people’s attention is turning back to road safety. All people are concerned with is speed and not anything else. When people are driving they are concentrating on the appropriate speed and not on the road.”

She added Safe Speed wants to see a move back to speed limits monitored by police.

But road safety charity Brake thinks the move will result in more deaths and urged Essex County Council to keep the cameras.

Spokesman Katherine Hartley said: “Fixed speed cameras continue to be an invaluable resource for keeping our communities safe by slowing traffic and reducing the number of people killed.”