MOTORISTS who break the speed limit should be given an on-the-spot warning instead of a fine, according to a Birmingham MP.

John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley) has launched a campaign calling for the removal of speed cameras, to be replaced by electronic warning signs instead.

He has sponsored a House of Commons motion calling on the government to conduct a national review of speed camera policies.

Under his proposals, some traditional speed cameras would still exist – with motorists facing a fine if they were caught breaking the limit.

But many more would be replaced by electronic warnings which simply told drivers to slow down.

Mr Hemming said he believed speed cameras were being used to make money – rather than to improve road safety.

He said: “What matters is saving lives on roads, and you’re more likely to do that by telling drivers to slow down than by sending a fixed penalty notice to their home.

“Some of these speed cameras are in sneaky places. For example, there is one on the A45 on the way to the airport, just after the speed limit is reduced from 60 mph to 40 mph.

“I’d guess it catches a lot of drivers, even responsible motorists. You also have cameras on the A4540 Watery Lane, which has a 30 mph speed limit when it is 40 mph everywhere else. You need cameras there because of the boy racers, but drivers should be given a warning first.”

Electronic warning systems which check a vehicle’s speed and tells drivers if they are going too fast already exist, but they are not used often enough, according to Mr Hemming.

But Birmingham-based charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said speed cameras had a vital safety role to play.

Duncan Vernon, the organisation’s road safety officer, said: “Speed cameras are a proven way of reducing the number of collisions at a site, and as an accident prevention measure they are effective. However, there is a role for flashing speed signs. But without the deterrent of being caught for speeding, some drivers do ignore them.”

Revenue raised from cameras within the West Midlands Police force area rose from £375,000 in 1997 to £2.6million in 2006. In Warwickshire fine revenue shot up from £74,820 to £1.8million between 1997 and 2006.