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End of the road for grey speed cameras

Time to wave goodbye to grey speed cameras – the government has announced it will gradually phase them out, starting with motorways.

The government said all grey speed cameras on motorways in England will be painted yellow by October 2016 as part of a plan to make them easier to see and therefore make drivers less likely to reduce brake suddenly.

Department for Transport (DfT) officials will help keep the cost of painting speed cameras by performing the task during the standard renewal date.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said of the announcement: “I’ve always been clear that cameras should be visible and get used for safety rather than revenue raising.”

He added: “This move is about applying common sense to our roads. Speed cameras should make journeys safer rather than lead to dangerous braking.”

Grey speed cameras were introduced in England on a stretch of the M42 motorway in Birmingham nine years ago. There are now around 6,000 speed cameras across the UK, with around 200 sites on motorways alone.

RAC external affairs head Pete Williams welcomed the news: “The Government’s reassurance that all motorway speed cameras will be painted yellow by October 2016 is long overdue and brings a welcome degree of consistency which will ensure that the road safety benefits of the varied types of cameras are maximised.

“Yellow speed cameras at the roadside are a familiar feature on the UK road network, both loved and loathed by motorists and road users in equal measure.

“But the proliferation of grey, unmarked motorway gantry cameras has led to confusion for many and accusations that they were there to catch out unsuspecting motorists and to raise revenue rather than improve road safety.

“Now with evermore sophisticated models like the inconspicuous HADECS3 verge-mounted motorway camera that covers three lanes, clear identification will ensure that the authorities maintain the trust of drivers and dispel any ‘money raising’ suspicions.

“For the sake of consistency and to avoid further confusion for drivers the Government needs to extend this guidance to apply to all speed cameras, wherever they encounter them on whatever roads – so including local authorities.”

The most lucrative speed camera in Britain made an estimated £808,410 over a six-month period in 2014.

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