Big Brother Extends Reach in U.K.

A new generation of speed cameras that can track drivers for up to 30 miles and cannot be dodged are being tested by police.

The devices stop motorists evading a ticket by braking suddenly before a camera and then speeding up immediately afterwards. The new cameras could cover whole areas of cities or suburban housing estates, guarding any number of entry and exit points.

By ‘talking’ to each other down phone or internet lines, they calculate a car’s average speed – even if it makes a series of left and right turns down a variety of roads.

The cameras are already in use, but mainly on the motorways.

They are now likely to appear on rural and urban roads, spelling the end for the 6,000 yellow ‘Gatso-style’ box cameras currently in use.


Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick yesterday told a road safety conference that the latest cameras would be a key weapon in the fight to reduce road casualties.

Supporters say they are ‘fairer’, have so far reduced casualties by 50 per cent and encourage a smoother traffic flow and safer, more consistent driving behaviour.

But critics say it is merely a new chapter in the Government’s war on motorists, who paid £106million in fines last year.

One system, costing £200,000 to £1million depending on the size of the area covered, could replace many fixed-point speed cameras.

But although the number of cameras might reduce, greater areas of the road network would be covered.

One of the providers of average speed cameras, SPECs, told the conference that the cameras could be networked together, could be forward or rear facing, could scan multiple lanes and cover areas from 250 yards to nearly 30 miles.

The cameras photograph a number-plate as a vehicle enters the speed restriction zone, and then again when it leaves.

The system then calculates the car’s average speed between the two points.

If it is higher than the speed limit, the driver is automatically sent a fixed penalty fine and receives three points on their licence.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: ‘Trials have shown very good results. Wherever there are average speed camera signs, traffic moves at a uniform speed and crashes reduce.’

Approval for the new generation of cameras is imminent. It will be up to local authorities to decide whether to buy the system.

˜ Electronic signs that sense when a car is speeding and switch traffic lights further down the road to red, forcing it to stop, are to be introduced in Britain.

The system, already in use as a traffic calming measure in Spain, will be installed on Camden High Street in North London.

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