Motorway speed cameras installed over a year ago not turned on due to ‘staffing issues’

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The devices currently cover a long stretch of the M4 through Newport in Wales, but have lain dormant despite it being well over a year since they were installed. That’s despite 50mph restrictions being in place that have remained since March 2021.

The speed limits and cameras were the result of transport commission findings after they were tasked by the Welsh Government to find ways to reduce pollution on the M4.

Speed limits were decided to be one of the quicker solutions, however two years later the cameras put in place are not operating.

Wales’ police multi-agency GoSafe has confirmed that they are yet to go live and said the reasons for the delay were due to IT problems and staffing issues.

A spokesman for GoSafe said: “Due to the advent of digital technology and the demands upon IT departments to install several camera types we have reached a point where significant development and investment in systems is required before we can make these schemes live and absorb the extra demand which will arise as part of these schemes.”

They added: “To that end we have approved additional resourcing in the IT staff team to assist with the backlog of development work to bring all schemes online.

“To date our recruitment attempts have been unsuccessful and have meant that we are unable to secure the staff to deliver the IT solutions required.

“I offer assurance that we have dedicated resources working diligently on this matter to ensure that we continue to make progress towards our enforcement goals.”

Wales has several areas where pollution has reached such dangerous level that they must be monitored and a quarter of those are in Newport.

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When annual averages of nitrogen dioxide surpass 40 micrograms per cubic metre it is considered dangerous to people.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The data that we’ve collected throughout the process demonstrates the impact the reduced speed limits have had on air quality across all locations.

We continue to work closely with the Police and GoSafe to support enforcement at M4 Newport.”

The news comes as drivers in the UK were warned they could face fines of up £1,000 if they use social media to highlight the locations of mobile speed cameras.

Facebook users have been seen recently advising others to take down material concerning the locations of speed cameras, particularly mobile cameras.

This though can be in breach of section 89 of the Police Act 1997, designed to penalise anyone who “wilfully obstructs” a constable in the execution of his or her duty.

It also applies to motorists who flash their lights to alert fellow drivers about speed cameras.

North Wales Police (NWP) said breaking this law can also lead to up to one month in prison.

A spokesperson for the NWP road policing unit told North Wales Live: “Publicising the locations of speed traps hampers the good work that staff and officers do to reduce speeding motorists, which is one of the ‘Fatal Five’ offences.

“Motorists could be prosecuted if they are caught warning other drivers on the road for any speed trap.”

The warning comes after a motorist took to Facebook to warn a van was operating near Abersoch, northwest Wales.

They were advised by other users to take it down – he also posted a photo of the speed trap he’d taken while driving, potentially another driving offence.

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