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There has been some degree of controversy after it has come to light that covert speed cameras, in use on increasingly large stretches of the country’s motorway system, have been used to clock motorists doing just marginally over the 70mph limit. In most cases, cameras are set to allow 10% over the speed limit plus 2mph, meaning that drivers tend to pass cameras unnoticed unless they are clocking up speeds of 80mph.

However, drivers in Kent have been photographed by gantry cameras at speeds of just over 70mph. Critics have said that the cameras, which are part of the smart motorway network that is being introduced, are supposed to be used when variable speed limits are deployed and not when the limit is set at the standard 70mph, but the government has said that research shows that adhering to speed limits eases congestion. Indications suggest that motorists have been caught in Kent, and that similar tactics are to be used on other stretches of the motorway including those around the Midlands.

It is on smart motorways, where grey cameras are deployed behind the grey metal gantries that drivers have been caught out, and critics have once again pointed to the fact that cameras are meant to encourage safer driving and not used as a means of raising money, therefore they should be easy to spot to discourage speeding like the bright yellow average speed cameras that are used on motorway stretches where the limit has been reduced to 50mph for greater safety.

The recent tickets have been discussed on motoring websites, were mentioned on the BBC’s Top Gear, and have been covered by a number of motoring organisations and publications too. Smart motorways are being introduced across the country, offer the use of the hard shoulder as an additional lane during times of congestion, and utilise variable speed limits to try and reduce congestion and increase safety for all road users. It is unclear whether all gantry cameras on these stretches of motorway will be used in the same way, but there is the possibility.