What is happening with the possible relocation of a controversial 24-hour bus lane camera in Northampton?

Some have said the camera is a 'cash cow' for the council

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 5:16 pm

A controversial 24-hour bus lane camera in Northampton could be kept in the same location despite numerous complaints about its positioning.

The bus lane is monitored by just one camera along the A45 into town - opposite West Bridge - which will snap motorists if they enter the zone, issuing fines of £60 but reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

The camera was being considered for relocation after councillors criticised their own party last month (March) and labelled the scheme a 'cash cow'.

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The bus lane camera (in the top right corner of the picture) on the A45 in Northampton, opposite West Bridge

Another member of the public also criticised the camera saying it was 'another money making exercise by the council'.

In response to the backlash, councillor Jason Smithers, the man behind the scheme, said the council was looking at an alternative place for the camera.

Here's what the council said last month (March 18): “The county council, as the highways authority, is committed to ensuring that the bus lane is unhindered for buses in order to promote public transport and active travel.

"Given the concerns about the location of the enforcement camera, we are looking to see whether there is a more suitable location.

"We continue to encourage motorists to abide by the rules of the road and not to drive in the bus lane.”

Nearly a month on from the council's initial comment, this newspaper asked the local authority for an update over the possible camera change. Here's what they said.

A spokesperson from West Northamptonshire Council said: “We are aware of concerns about the location of the bus lane enforcement camera at St James.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and will be looking to see if there is a more suitable location or whether it should remain where it is.

"We continue to encourage motorists to abide by the rules of the road and not to drive in the bus lane.”

The bus lane was brought into action by the former Northamptonshire County Council, now West Northamptonshire Council, in a bid to reduce congestion in the area and provide Covid travel plans, which effectively means to encourage more people to cycle.

The government has suggested that councils will be told to issue a warning rather than a fine for first-time offenders

The rules would apply to bus lane and other 'moving traffic offences' such as making illegal turns or blocking a yellow box junction.

Powers to enforce these other offences are due to be handed over to local authorities in England under the government's Gear Change proposals.

The plan to issue warnings instead of fines was announced as part of the same proposals for altering road regulations.

The plan says: “We will issue guidance to local authorities... including the importance of ensuring the need for traffic signing to be properly designed and placed, so that it is clear to drivers what restrictions are in force.

“We propose that motorists be issued with a warning for a first offence, and fines for subsequent offences.”

Click here to see how to appeal a bus lane fine.

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