Motorists fume at ‘cash cow’ camera

23/8/2011'Traffic enforcement cameras at Moor End Road, Hemel Hempstead.
23/8/2011'Traffic enforcement cameras at Moor End Road, Hemel Hempstead.

MOTORISTS have reacted with fury after learning thousands have been hit with tickets for driving along Moor End Road in Hemel Hempstead.

Drivers who have used the route for decades have hit out at the decision to restrict it to buses and say the signs are confusing.

A group of puzzled drivers even gathered at the junction to fathom out how they have been stung with £60 fines since a camera came into force on August 8.

Before the camera was switched on highways chiefs calculated 4,000 vehicles used the road each week, but in the first two days of enforcement more than 3,000 drivers were slapped with fines potentially worth £180,000.

Kevin Cunningham, boss of a South African food store in St Albans, was sent two fines after driving to Hemel Hempstead to do some shopping and he returned on Monday morning to find out why.

“I was standing there. Everyone was coming to have a look to see why they got a fine. You can’t see the signs, there are no road markings. It’s very confusing,” he said.

“Thousands are going to be fined there. I was there 20 minutes and 60 or 70 cars went through. They were old people in their cars. It’s terrible – they’re going to be hit with a £60 fine.”

The 58-year-old added: “I always go that way to go shopping – I will stay away from the town now.

“If it was signed correctly people wouldn’t be doing it. Unless you are concentrating on every sign, you will miss it.”

Online at hemeltoday a story about the numberplate-reading camera has attracted more than 40 comments, with some labelling it a ‘cash cow’.

Moor End Road has been technically restricted to buses and taxis since the Riverside development took place and cars are only supposed to use it to access the car park there, but many drivers use the road to bypass queues on Leighton Buzzard Road.

Highways chiefs decided to start enforcing the restriction because buses were being delayed by heavy traffic, forcing controversial route changes in the borough.

Herts County Council has said it will be reviewing the enforcement regime after three months.