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Revealed: The truth about ‘new’

smart motorway speed cameras

Highways England has moved to rubbish growing speculation that new smart motorway speed cameras are being switched on this week.

Several social media posts reported that overhead speed cameras on smart stretches of the M1 and M25 have been activated in a fresh bid to 'catch out' speeding motorists.  Some claim that anyone who breaks the 70mph speed limit will have their details sent to a central hub, with tickets then automatically sent out.  But Highways England has asserted it has “no idea where these rumours came from.”

Overhead cameras are an essential safety feature of smart motorways, allowing authorities to monitor congestion at peak times and alter the flow of traffic as required.  Highways England acknowledges that some cameras may revert to national speed limit cameras when the variable smart motorway limit ends.  But it says the recent reports on blogs and social media are simply inaccurate, dismissing them as fake news.

A spokesperson said: “Safety cameras on smart motorways are set by each regional police force, we are unaware of any sweeping changes to the entire camera network on either the M1 or M25. “It simply isn’t possible to activate or deactivate every single speed camera on the M1 or M25 at the press of a button.” 


Smart motorways are sections of motorway that employ various traffic management techniques to help improve traffic flow during particularly busy times.

Variable speed limit is one of these techniques, which sees temporary speed limits displayed on gantries to manage traffic speed in the event of congestion or roadworks.

Speed limit laws for smart motorways with variable speed limits are the same as those for fixed-limit roads, but with more cameras on these motorways motorists are typically more likely to be caught.

The majority caught breaking the limit will receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 fine and three penalty points, but in more dangerous situations the punishment could be greater.

Copyright Press Association 2019.