Government rake in £1 million from smart motorways 0

government-rake-in-1-million-from-smart-motorwaysMore than £1.1 million has been generated fining speeding motorists on 11 stretches of smart motorway in the UK.

The figures, accounting for the 2015 period, saw a total of 52,516 fixed penalties issued on smart motorways including the M1, M25 and M6. Before the new technology was installed, just 2,023 similar penalties were issued.

Police data obtained by BBC’s The One Show, revealed that this equates to an average of 1,000 motorists being fined a week – accruing a total of £1.1 million – a 630% increase on the £150,600 total of 2011.

England now has 11 separate sections of smart motorway, operated by Highways England. Technology is used to monitor and control different aspects of traffic: determining speed, interactive road signs, the closure or opening of lanes, sometimes even utilising the hard shoulder if necessary.

In use since 2006, the smart motorways comprise 236 miles of England’s motorway network, with a further 200 miles planned, following a £6 billion government investment programme.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “It is clear that speeding costs lives and we have been clear for a number of years that speed cameras should not be used to generate revenue.”

Some are worried about the scheme though, Edmund King, AA president, added: “Questions need to be answered about the money being recouped.”

King is also of the opinion that more emergency refuge is required on the new smart sections of motorways to improve safety. He said: “Only a couple of weeks ago one of our members broke down on a smart motorway. The red ‘X’ to indicate a closed lane was ignored and they still got hit from behind.”

Shaun Piddock, from Highways England, defended smart motorways however. He said: “They are the safest motorways on the network. We have 100 per cent CCTV coverage and we have people watching over them, making sure they’re safe, and we can get people in the traffic office to them far safer and quicker than we can do on normal motorways.”

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