Finally numberplate cameras will catch out illegal bus lane users in the Drapery

Number plate recognition cameras will be installed in the Drapery to stop vehicles using the bus lanes illegally.
Number plate recognition cameras will be installed in the Drapery to stop vehicles using the bus lanes illegally.

Number plate recognition cameras are set to be installed in Northampton town centre to stop some 400 people using the bus lanes incorrectly every day.

Northamptonshire County Council has announced a long-awaited crackdown on vehicles illegally using bus lanes in the county in a bid to improve journey times for bus passengers.

The council’s cabinet will be presented with a report for approval at a meeting next week, which will outline plans to use CCTV and number plate recognition technology.

The measures will be introduced at two sites in Northamptonshire: Drapery in Northampton town centre and the bus gate linking Church Street to Cambridge Street in Wellingborough town centre.

The need for the measures has already been 'scoped-out', the county council says - with three trial sites in the county having had cameras installed in 2017 to check the level of contraventions.

The cameras found that 52 vehicles illegally use the bus lane at the Weedon Road junction of Duston Road every day.

But that figure paled in comparison to the Drapery - which sees an average of 427 people flaunt the rules on that stretch daily.

In 2017 Northampton Borough Council said the illegal bus lane use was a major contributing factor in causing town centre gridlock around the North Gate bus station.

Back then, the authority said it was looking into the possibility of installing number plate recognition cameras to police the situation.

Councillor Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “With population growth and increasing car ownership, the volume of traffic on our roads is growing.

“Part of the solution to reducing congestion and pollution is to encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport including buses.

“However a real challenge to this is guaranteeing reliable journey times. I believe this plan will make significant improvements in making bus travel an attractive option for commuters.”