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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 14:13 GMT
Speed camera warning 'a hoax'
By Malcolm Prior
BBC News Online, Berkshire

One of the signs
An email claimed the system contained speed cameras
Rumours that a 16m motorway congestion warning system has been hiding the latest hi-tech speed cameras have been refuted.

The police, the AA and road safety chiefs have all dismissed as a hoax an email claiming that hi-tech signs on the M4 contained the Specs system, digital equipment that works out drivers' average speed between cameras.

In October, transport minister Kim Howells launched the congestion warning scheme - which detects slow-moving or stationary traffic and displays electronic warnings - between junctions 12 and 14 of the motorway.

Since then an email has been sent round warning that the Specs system has been launched, working 24 hours a day and with "absolutely no limit on the number of tickets that it can issue".

We had heard of the email and it is a complete load of rubbish
AA spokesman
The rumours have led Speed Check, the firm behind the Specs cameras which are used at a number of UK sites, to issue a firm denial.

A spokesman said: "Speed Check has received a number of enquiries in relation to a hoax email.

"It has been implied that a Specs system has been installed on the M4.

"Speed Check would like to assure all interested parties that there are currently no Specs systems in place on the M4."

An AA spokesman told BBC News Online: "We had heard of the email and it is a complete load of rubbish.

M4 (pic courtesy of Freefoto.com)
The system aims to cut congestion on the M4
"We have had that confirmed by the Highways Agency."

The rumours have been blamed on the fact that there are two CCTV cameras operating as part of the system.

But they are there to monitor if the signs are working correctly and the traffic itself.

A statement from Thames Valley Police read: "There are no speed cameras and no Specs cameras in the signs.

"The only involvement Thames Valley Police has is to change the messages on the signs according to the conditions to give up-to-date information."

Hi-tech signs warn of delays
08 Oct 03  |  Berkshire

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