THE anti- speeding zealots from The Castle in Winchester are on the march again. This week they announced a new battery of possible safety camera sites throughout the county -including the A30 at Blackwater.

Coun. Keith Estlin, who backed the potty scheme in Elvetham Road, Fleet, as well as the proposals for Fleet Road that saw the ousting of John Stocks in the May elections, was back on his familiar high horse as he declared that speeding must be seen as being as anti-social as drink driving.

The county claims that speed is the single largest contributory factor in road accidents with 258 deaths and 28,249 injuries on roads in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight over the past three years.

The county has promised that all new sites and routes will be signed and cameras will be painted yellow. It says that the routes have been chosen by the "Hampshire and Isle of Wight Safety Camera Partnership" because of a significant level of serious, speed-related accidents with drivers regularly exceeding the limit.

Partnership Manager Dr Marion Sinclair claimed that cameras had already been a powerful tool in reducing casualties in the county.

However, TV documentary maker David Mills, who has studied the subject, says that only about seven per cent of accidents are due to speeding. He also believes that cameras cause MORE accidents because drivers tend to slow down suddenly when they approach them.

He says that in 1997 the Met. Police installed a large number of speed cameras in London and the following year there was an 18 per cent drop in fatal accidents. But by last year there were more than ever.

In Colorado, USA, where speed limits have been raised from 55 mph to 75 mph, there have since been fewer accidents and fewer deaths. Mr Mills also notes that the ten police forces that most aggressively pursued motorists for speeding achieved a 4.6 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries over the past six years.

But the ten least interested in issuing tickets achieved a startling 22 per cent reduction in serious casualties!