No end to Cat & Fiddle speed camera scandal

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Britain’s first bike-catching average speed cameras are finally close to being switched on – weeks before they face the axe in spending cuts.

Speed cameras bosses have at last fixed a cock-up that has delayed the scheme for a year, two months before they face redundancy.

The cameras were installed last spring at a cost of £800,000 but have been dormant for a year after MCN revealed they could not catch speeders because of an oversight.

They are supposed to measure average speeds by timing vehicles between one installation and the next on the A537 ‘Cat & Fiddle’ road from Macclesfield in Cheshire to Buxton, Derbyshire.

They are the country’s first rear-facing average speed cameras, enabling them to read motorcycle number plates.

But planners overlooked a shortcut which leaves and rejoins the A537 between two camera sites. With no way of telling whether vehicles had taken the shortcut, the cameras could not calculate speed because they did not know the distance travelled.

Now more money has been spent adding a new installation to address the problem,
and the cameras are due to be switched on this week - but the body in charge of them is to be disbanded within two months in Government cutbacks.

A source at the Cheshire Safer Roads Partnership said: “The partnership is to be dissolved in April. The current arrangements are being stopped and new arrangements put in their place. Those arrangements haven’t yet been set out.”

The source said staff faced redundancy, adding: "This affects me personally."

Read more on this, including how the cameras are still flawed, in MCN, on sale

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell