Trees get the chop around Saltford speed camera that's caught 2,900 drivers

Published on: 03 Jul 2015

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Trees at the side of the A4 in Saltford have been cut back after complaints that they were blocking the view of a speed camera.

But not before 2,929 motorists were snapped travelling at more than 30mph on the stretch since the unit was switched back on nearly five months ago.

Among them was 92-year-old Maurice Cross, from Keynsham, who drove to Bath for a day out on June 6 and later received a penalty notice after he was caught travelling at 38mph past the camera.

Mr Cross said: “I don’t often use that route and having not seen the camera I assumed they had taken it down. I fell into the trap of keeping up with the car in front and assume we were both caught.

“I have spoken to the police but they said there were no grounds for appeal so I suppose I shall have to pay the fine as I can’t attend the speed awareness course because I am my wife’s carer.”

Guidelines issued by the Department for Transport to camera operators recommends a “high-visibility approach” but adds that non-compliance with the advice “does not provide any mitigation of, or defence for, an alleged offence committed under current UK law”.

The camera was switched back on on February 11 and is operated by Avon and Somerset Police, who issue penalty notices to those caught speeding.

The trees are on Network Rail property and were cut back by Bath & North East Somerset Council in June.

A council spokesman said: “There is a speed camera warning sign and the camera is within a clearly-marked 30mph area; there are also clear markings on the road next to it. Maintenance of the trees is the responsibility of the landowner Network Rail. As a gesture of goodwill, the council offered to cut back the trees on this occasion, ahead of Network Rail’s planned maintenance programme.”

When concerns were first raised about the view of the camera, Supt Richard Corrigan, road safety lead, said the police had been made aware of the growth of the trees and had contacted the local authority.

He said: “This is not a reason to stop enforcing the law by people who are exceeding the speed limit and this stance is supported by current guidance. It must be remembered that this is a residential area governed by a 30mph speed limit and is next to a central reservation for pedestrians crossing.”

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