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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 October 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Camera plan to catch bad drivers
Traffic enforcement camera
Councils say the cameras would help improve traffic flow and road safety
Use of traffic cameras to catch drivers blocking box junctions or ignoring road signs could be introduced across England and Wales.

The government is considering rolling out the use of the cameras already in place in London, where one million drivers were fined last year.

Road campaigners said the move could be seen as a "revenue raiser" rather than a traffic flow and safety measure.

Councils in England and Wales could begin using the cameras from 2008.

A Department for Transport spokesman said there would be a consultation next year on giving local authorities the powers.

"We do not know how many will take up the powers but we do not anticipate that many," he said.

He added that motoring organisations would be included in discussions.

Penalty fines

Drivers in London face fines up to 100 for offences including stopping in a box junction and ignoring no right turn and no entry signs.

Nick Lester, of London Councils, told BBC Breakfast: "We found that using cameras to enforce minor moving traffic offences has been very successful in improving the traffic flow in London."

We do not want it to be a gravy train for local authorities
Paul Watters
The AA Motoring Trust

He said that enforcing box junctions "seriously" had cut congestion by between 10 and 20%.

But Paul Watters, of The AA Motoring Trust, said: "We have certainly seen with parking it is all about revenue and I think there is a great worry with cameras and junctions... that people are going to think it is all about revenue again.

"We do not want it to be a gravy train really for local authorities, so there are concerns about what the motivation of the camera being there is."

Rise in offences

Sheila Granger, campaigns manager at the RAC, expressed concern that increased use of the cameras could lead to fewer traffic police on the roads.

"There are problems on the roads that the cameras simply can't spot, problems like drug-driving, people using their mobile phones," she said.

"These are things where we still need to have experts on the ground who can pull motorists over and correct their behaviour."

Earlier this year, Home Office statistics showed that motoring offences dealt with by police reached a record high of 13.5 million in 2004.

Traffic cameras identified two million of those offences, up from 447,000 six years earlier, the figures showed.

Transport for London has more than 70 traffic cameras in the capital, with 11 London councils also having installed devices.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
How CCTV cameras are currently used in London



SEE ALSO
Demand for extra traffic police
18 Aug 06 |  Southern Counties
CCTV helps spot illegal parking
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What can you do while driving?
09 Mar 06 |  Magazine
Traffic policing 'a low priority'
08 Mar 06 |  South Yorkshire

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