Drivers breaking 50mph speed limit on A494 could face enforcement action from this week
Drivers exceeding the 50mph speed limit introduced to reduce pollution levels on the A494 in Deeside could receive a “letter or fine through their doors” from this week.
The Welsh Government said last week that drivers breaking the speed limit could receive a “first of its kind advisory letter programme,” informing them of the importance of complying with the speed limit, “whilst still prosecuting the most dangerous drivers” from Monday, October 4.
The 50mph speed reductions were introduced on five 70mph stretches of road in Wales – including the A494 and the A483 in Wrexham – in June 2018 where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions were found to be above the legal limit as set out by an EU directive.
Average speed cameras were later introduced on the A494 in Deeside, they went ‘live’ in September 2019 however, in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request, the Welsh Government confirmed that “no drivers have been fined or cautioned” as a result of data being gathered from the average speed cameras.
The FOI response points out North Wales Police “may have carried out enforcement by another method.”
The A494 cameras situated along the east and westbound carriageway, monitor the 50mph zone which stretches from St David’s Park Interchange and Deeside Industrial Park Interchange.
They use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to continuously record cars passing from one camera to the other, with the average speed calculated over the known “baseline” distance.
Slowing down while passing directly under the cameras may not be enough to bring down the average speed between the two posts.
The system is said to encourage a smoother, safer style of driving, requiring drivers to pay constant, close attention to their speed over a given distance.
In terms of enforcement, roads policing lead for Police in Wales, Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Travis said:
“The implementation of the 50mph speed limits, for environmental reasons, on some of Wales’s busiest roads is an important issue to tackle pollution and to give Wales and its communities a cleaner and healthier future.
“All four Welsh Forces are supporting its implementation, with the enforcement of these speed limits approached in a consistent, proportionate and transparent manner.”
The Welsh government said last week the 50mph schemes “have already been successful in significantly lowering the levels of nitrogen dioxide in affected areas by up to 47%, helping to protect people from serious illness as well as playing a part in tackling the climate emergency.”
Speaking last week, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, who has a responsibility for Transport said: “We’ve made significant progress in bringing emissions levels down in recent years, but we now have to go further and faster.
“We know that slower speed limits are not a popular choice, but we need to do things differently and be bold if we are to stand a chance of tackling climate change.
“It’s clear that the speed restrictions we’ve introduced on our most polluted roads are working – the results speak for themselves – but compliance with these limits is essential if we are to achieve the reductions we need to make in the shortest possible time.
“We need to act now to make Wales a safe place to live with clean air for everyone.”
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