Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Revealed: Company behind 'sneaky' new motorway speed cameras is paid £2.1million by the taxpayer so they can catch MORE drivers . . .

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Revealed: Company behind 'sneaky' new motorway speed cameras is paid £2.1million by the taxpayer so they can catch MORE drivers 

  • A new generation of speed cameras being introduced on the M25 in Kent 
  • Company behind them have £2.1million contract with the Government
  • They have been installed to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit
  • Unlike traditional yellow cameras, they are painted grey and harder to spot 
  • Have already caught almost 700 motorists on the M25 in just two months 
  • Same technology is now set to be introduced on the M1, M3, M60 and M6
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2916359/Company-sneaky-new-motorway-speed-cameras-paid-2-1m-taxpayer-catch-drivers.html

Taxpayer deal: The company behind new stealth cameras being installed on Britain's busiest roads is being paid £2.1million by the Government

The business behind new 'stealth' speed cameras being installed across Britain is being paid £2.1million by the taxpayer to help catch more drivers, it was revealed today.

The controversial devices have caught almost 700 drivers in just two months and unlike traditional yellow speed cameras, they are painted grey, making them harder to spot.

The technology has been introduced to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit on the M25 in Kent. 

And the same technology is being introduced on a northern section of the M25 and also parts of the M1, M3, M60 and M6.

Today it emerged that Redflex Travel Systems Ltd agreed a £2.1million deal with the Government to set up the system.

The Highways Agency confirmed to MailOnline they pay £150,000 per site to install the equipment and· £25,000 per site per year to maintain the equipment.

The company's UK boss Ronald Moore last night refused to comment on whether the cameras are unfair on motorists.

But he did tell The Sun: 'I work for the company who do the technology for the cameras. I have no comment'. 

The cameras, called the Hadecs3, enforce variable speed limits on motorways when they are congested. 

But when the speed limit at 70mph they are not switched off, instead they then catch people breaking the limit. 

Front and rear-facing cameras are used to verify a vehicle’s speed. 

And, while conventional devices have to be trained on only one lane at a time, the digital cameras can scan four. 

Motoring groups claim the devices will see thousands of drivers facing at least £100 in fines and points on their licence for straying marginally over the 70mph limit.


Uproar: The cameras, pictured on the M25, were believed to be just enforcing variable speed limits but they are actually doing the 70mph limit too

The Association of Chief Police Officers recommends drivers are not charged unless they exceed 79mph in a 70mph limit zone.

HOW A 'STEALTH' CAMERA WORKS 

The grey cameras are being installed across Britain's busiest motorways can track dozens cars across four lanes in the heaviest of traffic.

Conventional cameras can only scan one lane and are usually painted yellow - but these are grey.

Attached to the motorway gangway - front and rear-facing cameras are used to verify a vehicle's speed. 

The same camera system is also used to grab the vehicle's number plate and match it up with the national vehicle registration database. 

They enforce variable speed limits and also the standard 70mph speed limit if needed. 

Hugh Bladon, one of the founder members of the Alliance of British Drivers, said they did not believe targeting drivers on the motorways was the best way to improve safety and that punishing drivers for exceeding the 70mph limit was often unnecessary.

'The 70mph limit is not a speed that a lot of people bother to observe any more,' he said. 

'It was originally brought in as an experiment and was made permanent without any real testing. It was brought in at a time when the stopping power of cars was a bit like stopping an oil tanker, and the maximum speed of most cars was 74mph. We've moved on now, some 50 years later we have cars that stop much more quickly. 

'The amount of traffic that exceeds the 70mph limit is enormous. Most people are driving at 80mph on motorways, and these are our safest roads in the country.' 

Mr Bladon said he did not think using speed cameras on the M25 was appropriate because there are many times, particularly late at night or when there is little traffic, when it is safe to driver faster than 70mph. He also said these should be made more visible, rather than disguised to try and catch drivers out. 

In 2013 the number of people fined for speeding peaked at more than 115,000 - the highest level since 2009. Ministers said the rise was largely due to the increased number of speed cameras that were in operation for 24 hours a day. In total 115,549 motorists were fined more than £100 that year. 

It was also announced last year that the maximum fines for motorway speeding that could be imposed by magistrates would rise from £2,500 to £10,000. 



In 2012-13 the Government collected £284million in speeding fines.

Where the new cameras will be placed: Several stretches of road are being upgraded to become 'smart motorways', with new speed cameras a part of improvements. Above, a map detailing which will be affected

Work begins on M62 to create new 'smart motorways'

Rupert Lipton, managing director of the National Motorists Action Group, said he was 'shocked' officials had decided to use this type of speeding enforcement. 

He said: 'This is a another missed opportunity. The Highways Agency is introducing so called "smart motorways" but relying on dumb enforcement. It is policing by numbers, by remote control'. 

Studies have shown that nine out of ten drivers admit to breaking the motorway speed limit.

The Government had planned to raise the limit to 80mph before the proposals were shelved by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin two years ago.

Brake, the road safety group, has previously said that raising the speed limit would cause more accidents and deaths on motorways. 

The first cameras were installed between junctions five and six of the M25. Kent police figures showed that 668 speeding offences were logged in just over two months.

Until now, cameras have mainly been used to keep drivers below 50mph in sections of the network undergoing roadworks.


In the two months since they have been installed on the M25, pictured, almost 700 drivers have been caught breaking the 70mph limit 

The Highways Agency said signs warning about speed cameras should be displayed on every gantry of the motorway where they are used. 

A spokesman said: 'Variable speed limits on smart motorways are primarily there to smooth traffic flow, reduce congestion and make journeys more reliable.

'Hundreds of thousands of motorists use this stretch of the M25 every day. The vast majority are sticking to the speed limits and are experiencing better journeys as a result of smart motorways.

'There are clear signs where cameras are in place and the new cameras are more visible than the previous versions.' 





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