Police speak to Prince Philip after he is 'pictured driving again'

Jamie Doward and agency
The scene of the accident, near the Sandringham estate. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

Police have spoken to the Duke of Edinburgh after he was pictured driving a new Land Rover, seemingly without a seatbelt, just 48 hours after his crash with a Kia car carrying two women and a baby.

Images published on Saturday appear to show Prince Philip, wearing tinted glasses, back behind the wheel of a replacement Freelander on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

The 97-year-old passed a police eyesight test on Saturday morning as the investigation into Thursday’s crash continued, with police saying “any appropriate action” would be taken if necessary.

It also emerged on Saturday that police and councillors had clashed over plans to install speed cameras prior to Thursday’s crash.

On Friday, the day after the Land Rover driven by the Queen’s husband was in the collision, Norfolk county council’s environment, development and transport committee approved the installation of cameras and a cut to the speed limit on the A149 near the Sandringham estate.

But it has transpired the plans were agreed by police more than two years ago, only to be rejected by councillors, who feared the cameras would become a “cash cow”. Councillors called for further consultation before giving their backing, the Eastern Daily Press reported.

Their move prompted Norfolk’s chief constable, Simon Bailey, to raise his concerns about the consequences if there was a serious accident.

He wrote to Tom McCabe, Norfolk county council’s executive director of community and environmental services, in September, saying: “Whilst I appreciate the views of the local councillors are a key consideration, as I understand it, the responsibility for and the liability arising from the decision impacts on the council as a whole (particularly given the risk to the council in the event of legal challenge or a fatality). As such, can I ask if the matter has been raised with the relevant highways committee?”

Bailey suggested the council’s decision to reject the plan could be exposed under the Freedom of Information act. He added: “As we are all well aware, decisions made by our respective bodies are subject to disclosure under FoI and may also be the subject of consideration by a court or at an inquest, so it is important for me to understand if and how those issues have been considered and what plans are in place to respond to any such eventuality.”

In a move welcomed by police on Friday, Cllr Martin Wilby, chairman of the council’s transport committee, said: “The committee has agreed to reduce the speed limit of the A149 to 50mph on two sections of the road and approved the Norfolk Camera Safety Partnership scheme to install road safety cameras along the road.”

Some motorists have criticised the use of speed cameras, seeing them as a tax on drivers. However, Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said regular polls suggested they had more than 70% support among its members.

“When they are in the right place and properly marked, they have their place,” Bosdet said.

Norfolk police has said it “would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out”.

The passenger in the Kia car involved in the incident has been named by the Sunday Telegraph as Emma Fairweather, 45. She broke her wrist, and her friend was reported to have suffered cuts to the knee.

Police said the nine-month-old baby boy was unharmed.

The newspaper reports Fairweather, a mother-of-two, told family and friends she was unhappy with how the incident has been dealt with by police and Buckingham Palace.

A Norfolk constabulary spokeswoman said the force was aware of the photographs taken on Saturday and that “suitable words of advice have been given to the driver”.

She said: “This is in line with our standard response when being made aware of such images showing this type of offence.”

Buckingham Palace did not comment on the images.