Just ONE enforcement camera in Northampton's new 24-hour bus lane
"If a contravention occurs outside the view of the camera there is no way that the council could enforce this flouting of the rules"
It has been confirmed that there is only one camera enforcing the rules in a new 24-hour Northampton bus lane.
The 1.7 mile stretch of the bus lane, from Weedon Road to the train station, is only monitored by one camera, which is located outside the BP petrol station in St James' Road.
The bus lane camera will snap motorists if they enter the zone, issuing fines of £60 but reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
However, the traffic signage along the road into town reads: "24-hour bus lane cameras in operation", which suggests there is more than one, but that is not the case.
Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) was also asked why that one camera was positioned where it is, with some residents saying it "feels like a money-making exercise".
Here's what the county council said in response to this newspaper's questions:
Why was the camera placed in this specific area at the BP garage?
An NCC spokesman said: "The positioning of the camera was agreed based on a combination of it being the best position to undertake enforcement from - view a contravention and give sufficient footage - while being actually possible to place the camera.
"Considerations would include not increasing the street furniture present and the fact the camera would also need to have a power supply."
Why is NCC advertising on the boards saying "bus lane cameras in operation" when it's not plural but singular?
The spokesman said: "The sign wording doesn’t refer to the number of cameras. The wording used has to be based on the section of the Highways Act that prescribes what wording is legal to have on a sign.
"Legally, this is still the correct wording even if there is only one bus lane enforcement camera positioned."
What if motorists use the lane in the spots where there is no camera? Which is all of it except for the last 100 yards
The spokesman said: "As far as the cameras go, if a contravention occurs outside the view of the camera there is no way that the council could enforce this flouting of the rules.
"However, the police do have powers to enforce the bus lanes, as entering a bus lane in violation of a traffic regulation order (TRO) is a moving traffic offence and the TRO is a legal order which the police have the power to enforce too."
Are there plans to include more cameras?
The spokesman said: "Not at the moment. Like with any scheme there is a period of evaluation to see how the scheme works and then this would need to be analysed before considering any further expansion. Any further expansion would be promoted in the media."
A Northampton Police officer in an ANPR camera car was approached yesterday (Monday, March 8) about enforcing the bus lane rules, he said the enforcement and fines were more the responsibility of the county council.