Latest Speed Camera Scam?

Latest Speed Camera Scam?

I was driving back from seeing a friend at Heathrow on the M25 last Thursday evening when I witnessed this…

Just before J11 — the Chertsey exit — a temporary speed limit of 60mph appeared on the overhead speed camera gantry.

Then, on the very next one a few hundred yards later…

A 40mph limit…

Then, on the exit slip road for J11…

A 20 (yes, twenty) mph limit!

There are 2 important points here:

This was late at night (around midnight) and the road was completely clear. Very light traffic, and no workmen in the road.

These were not advisory speeds but actual speed limits, enforced by the variable cameras on each of the gantries.

Apart from the outrageous safety issues (I imagine you would agree?) of having cars suddenly decelerating from 70 or more to 20 on an exit slip road, there can surely only be one of two things at play here:

gross incompetence on the part of the Highways Agency or;

yet another scam to fleece Motorists of money at the *expense* of road safety — the very thing that speed cameras are supposed to stand for?…

But what I’d like to know is:

What do you think?

Leave your comments below!

All the best,


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  1. Sue Spicer

    I agree Adam, yet another money making scam but even worse – gross incompetency by the Highways Agency which compromises driver safety – this is just not acceptable.

  2. kevin marshall

    Money making exercise wait till councils start looking at pavement parking next year as well. Councils raped £700 million in parking fines this years.

  3. Jasdip Sagu

    Fed up of the government allowing unnecessary speed cameras for financial rewards. This is turning into a greedy & dangerous world.

  4. Eddie

    Something really needs to be done along with the ludicrous 50 mph limited on ridiculously long stretches of motorway ( eg Nottingham to Leeds !!) where you spend more time looking at your speedo rather than your surroundings on particularly narrow lanes in places :-( , who makes these rules up , have that actually driven on these roads ???

  5. George

    Yes I agree, gross incompetence of staff not double checking the speed limit, its impact on traffic, and the road and traffic.
    Its sheer carelessness and stupidity by staff involved!

  6. tony reeves

    Is there any way you can find out the name of the person responsible for setting these limits at that particular time? freedom of info, maybe?

    And then file a complaint with whomever is his employer. Make the mans name public.

  7. mark holder

    What can I say, it’s Britain. This country is so corrupt and unfortunately it always will be. Governed by greed. Let’s face it we only need look at petrol prices to see how the motorist is being held to ransom.

  8. Ian

    Par for the course. The only way motorists will get a common sense approach from police and highway agencies is to force it by co-ordinated civil disobedience/protest etc

  9. Rachel Martel

    Sometimes I think these instructions are ‘leftovers’ from the peak period and, as you say irrelevant for that time of day – but disregard them at your peril!

  10. Alan

    This happens regularly on the M25 for no apparent reason. I think gross incompetence but then we the motorist are liable if we don’t comply. I had the same 60,50,40,40, 60 for no reason just the other day, more dangerous than exceeding the speed limit!

  11. Golam Chowdhury

    Utterly disgusting — they think that the motorists are a cattle who can be continuously milked… we should all protest against these type of cameras

  12. Mike

    It is complete insanity to reduce speed in this manner and will cause road accidents.
    A similar issue coming into Newport from magor (M4) is that a 5omph speed reduction has been in force for months, in all road conditions and at all hours. This is NOT what these motorways are designed for. No speed restriction should be enforced when there
    is no reason for it

  13. Jim Simpson

    Give them their own way! We should all stop driving, give up our cars and release traffic cops and their support teams to do other crucial public services, like cleaning toilets or emptying cesspits. Should be easy enough to tupe them across, they are council employees and work for the public!

  14. Chris


    I think the camera gantry signs between M23 or reigate and heathrow are now contolled by Surrey police not the Highways agency.

    I have often (very often) experienced similar stupid signage, even saying workforce in Road and 20 or 30mph limits when there is no roadworks not even a single cone in that sector of the M25. Sometimes the works on the otherside of the motorway a junction or 3 away from the gantry warning notices.
    I have even seen signage stating FOG ahead, on a bright sunny day! (needless to say there was no fog)
    Also seen on more than one occasion the matrix display showing 30 or 40MPH or slower through roadworks wilst the standing workmans roadsign had 50 on them, (not heavy traffic at the time i went through them). This has been happening for the past 6months at least and i think it reflects the stupidiy of the police control center, its a disgrace.

  15. Peter Marsh

    Driving in Britain is a miserable enough experience as it is. The constant fear of falling fowl of speed violations makes it worse. In my mind it is quite clear that speed cameras in general can cause safety issues (people breaking erratically etc. on sight of one) rather than improve road safety. It is a disgrace!

  16. Alfred Fox

    I see this a lot at night mainly in the small hours. So it’s probably system checking. It’s irritating on an empty Road though. I’ve seen it on M1, M25 and M11 mainly

  17. Mike

    Outrageous! It’s time for motorists to rise up in revolution! If only I could think of way to achieve this! On the A64 dual carriageway in Yorkshire, police have taken to parking camera vans on overhead bridges positioned so that you think they’re checking on coming traffic on your side of the carriageway, but in reality, they’re checking on coming traffic on the opposite carriageway and/or retreating traffic on your side!

  18. Steve

    I see this a lot when travelling on the M25 between Juncion 7 and 10 late at night, the Variable Speed limits are set to 40 or 50 mph when the road is clear of traffic and roadworks, thankfully only one of the gantries in this stretch of the M25 has a camera, but it’s still very very annoying, how do you complain to the Highways Agency, as it’s probably they who have incorrectly set them.

  19. Maurice Hobin

    When will these “safety” ideas be brought to the attention of the Dept of Transport and all the motoring organisations. The police have to shoulder some of the blame as do the government as they are forcing budget cuts which result in these outrageous stunts which can only compromise safety. It would be interesting to ask whoever dreamed up this particular stunt what the justification was? This type of nonsense has to be reviewed by people who bring commonsense to bear on any “safety” or money earning decisions??

  20. David

    Outrageous abuse of variable speed cameras should be at least a warning in advance on overhead gantry that there is a vastdrop in speed coming

  21. barry

    It just goes on and on!

    When are the MP’s, who supposedly represent public opinion, going to do something about the continual and worsening persecution of motorists? We all know that it is just to gather money, but the points system just adds insult to injury!

  22. Richard Lewis

    It’s disgraceful. It should be that if traffic authorities can show no good reason for a sudden speed limit, they themselves should be taken to court. A similar thing happened to me recently. Landaing from the Channel Ferry at Bournemouth, I took a wrong turning, and found myself looking for direction signs, and didn’t notice any reduced speed notices. However, on what had been a 50mph road, I tripped a camera at 36mph. This was at mabout midnight ish.
    When returning through B’mouth some ten days later, a similar thing happened as I was looking for a hotel I’d booked into, and again whilst looking for direction signs, I tripped another at 39 mph, also after midnight. Saw the 50 sign clearly on both occasions, but didn’t see any 30 signs on either. Heavy tree growth probably obscuring them.
    I had travelled all over the South of England, and visited several places as far North as Leeds, but somehow, the only place I tripped cameras was B’mouth. Strange that.
    Being a visitor to the country, and not used to your roads, one would expect a little give and take from those that prosecute these things, and not JUST take and take. It’ll be a long time before you see me on your roads again, and even then only relunctantly.

  23. Martin

    i had the same thing happen on the M6 toll southbound where on a clear road the gantry advised 40 with no previous warning so i went through while slowing down and got flashed. The picture showed me doing 62.
    Grossly unfair

  24. Mike Dryden-Holt

    I don’t have a problem with reduced or temporary speed limits, for accidents, road works, etc., What I have a problem with is reduced limits for miles and miles of nobody doing anything, and out of date limits where the problem or accident has gone. Reducing limits in the way you describe, to catch motorists is an
    abuse of the system, and as such there should be the possibility of legal intervention to prevent it, or punish it where it occurs.


    It’s just another example of money making by the police. There was no need for these limits under those circumstances. How many times have we seen warning signs on motorways which cause traffic to slow down, bunch up sometimes for miles causing who know what chaos or missed deadlines for some drivers unnecessarily when the incident that caused it had ceased to be an incident hours ago! Is it incompetence or a deliberate money making scheme?

  26. george petch

    absolute disgrace I asked this question or a similar one at a speed awareness course about cones being moved to the side of the road was the temporary 50 mph still in force they could not answer

  27. chris

    Totally agree Adam.
    Have also seen this happen for no apparent reason.
    Also,as we all know, the information signs on the gantries are often still warning of an accident/obstruction that has been cleared away hours ago.
    This leads to drivers ignoring them leading to tragic incidents such as the accident on the M5 a few Christmases ago.

  28. Stal

    Absolute joke how they can justify these ludicrous, dangerous low speed limits when no accident or road works were present.

  29. Iain Allan

    Hi Adam, last Thursday 3rd December at around 17:30 I was westound on the M42 between J6 & J5 the overhead showed 60, the next overhead showed 70 then the following overhead showed 50, there was absolutely no changes in the traffic flow or roadworks/workmen to explain this??? Iain

  30. Mark Trossell

    I see this quite a lot and I often wonder on the implications of driving at, say 70 past a 50MPH sign which is followed by the “End” message. Surely this sort of incompetence cannot result in drivers receiving NIP’s for the “offences” ?

  31. Les cox

    Nothing surprises me on motorways or
    any other road come to that.How much more can the motorists in the U K take,
    the system is a complete nightmare.

  32. David Barnett

    As a step towards abolishing these menaces, we should press for legislation which removes the conflict of interest inherent in the current regime. There can be no legitimate objection to the following suggestion because it leaves the cameras and fines in place with all their alleged “safety” incentives. What it removes is the incentive for abuse:

    New law: All traffic/parking fines must go into a ring-fenced fund to provide compensation for victims of uninsured drivers. Not one penny shall go into the general fund of any government authority, quango or department. Enforcement must be funded by a fixed budget drawn from general taxation.

    In one step legitimacy can be restored to the system, because we have removed the conflict of interest corrupting it.

    I expect that there would follow a rapid reassessment of the alleged safety benefits.

    How about it? A determined campaign to remove the conflict of interest!

  33. steve

    I personally believe all camera’s are erected for profit reasons not for safety reasons. I drive in lots of different countries and I am still waiting for evidense that a camera has prevented a accident. The fact that people brake hard at the sight of a camera is the cause of accidents. Remove the camera’s people dont brake. I accept the use of camera’s near schools to maintain a slower speed but this is place were a average speed camera should be used not on a random stretch of open dual carrage way.

  34. Graham

    Undubtedly a money spinner. I came across another 5 years ago in Cumbria. I turned onto a dual carriageway and then saw a yellow peril. Out in the country, no junction, no traffic. As I thought it might be a money maker I slowed to 50 mph only to find a week later that it was set at 40mph! Needless to say – £60 and 3 points, no offer of a driving lesson.

  35. David Millington

    Germany doesn’t have speed limits on their motorways, and France and Spain have cameras about every 100miles or so. We should get rid of average speed cameras, and any that are obviously only there to make money.

  36. james day

    Hi all
    Nottingham are enforcing all the residential roads at 20 mph.
    A610/juction left at stockhill road mobile most days

  37. Mark Cartwight

    Sheer incompetence on behalf of either the Highways Agency or the police, or both.
    If there is an incident that has been the cause behind these speed limits, then it has been cleared, the police should inform the HA, so that these limits can be lifted.

  38. David Millington

    What about the latest idea of allowing pettiness to use hand held speed cameras. I don’t think it would even be legal as they probably don’t get any training,

  39. Tony Minns

    I think that this ought be raised at ministerial level either directly to the Minister of Transport and/or at Prime Minister’s question time.
    We need accountable for these cases of gross mismanagement.

    If you use a combat camera/dashcam that may prove a defence.

  40. Denis Murray

    Has anyone written a request to the Highways Agency that asks for the a copy of the operating parameters/guidelines in terms of the conditions where they are allowed to specify a change of speed less than the National limit. ‘Income generation’ should not be the driving force for setting speed limits. The system settings should allow for a gradual slow down from and acceleration up to the National limit, or is beyond the comprehension of the Highways Agency, its called ‘ROAD SAFETY’

  41. Mike Jarvis

    Most of the speeding cameras in the UK are Cash Cows, though this is taking things to far and could well be seen as fraudulent activity on behalf of the operators.

    In extorting money out of people through the wrong and irresponsible use of systems designed for road safety..!

  42. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    As far as M25/J11 is concerned, I would say BOTH… incompetence AND scam… so what’s new?

  43. Chris Tracey

    I use this road on at least 3 nights a week and it’s nothing new !!
    the first time I thought it must be because of some sort of incident but NO!! there was nothing but clear road.
    I have not seen any problem any time it has been down to 20 mph I assumed that they are testing the system but you can’t take the chance but something needs to be done!!!!

  44. Chris

    Surely though, unless I’ve read this wrong, they’re not dropping from 70+ to 20, they’re only dropping from 40, as the speed limit has been stepped down with the previous two signs. That in itself seems fair enough to me. The fact they were doing this late at night on a clear road with no roadworks or major accidents, that is another matter. I would also be quite interested to see what the highways agency has to say about this..

  45. David Cawthorne

    Why is everyone so surprisef? Typical of the powers thst be, rules for motorists should not be made by cyclists!

  46. Steve Barlow

    I regularly see this, speed limits for no reason.
    Its a scam, nothing to do with safety and should be illegal

  47. John Bruce

    I work nights and regularly drive on the M25 from the A13 to the M1. On several occasions, I have seen active speed limits (22.00 – 24.00)from the M11 (junction 27 to junction 25) the A10 without any cones or any traffic management vehicles to be seen. This strongly suggests to me that the Highways Agency (now self funded) has to make money somewhere and the motorist is an easy target. I have also seen the 1st camera past the Bell Common tunnel(anti clockwise) flash cars doing 80 – 85 mph so be careful of that one.

  48. Ashley

    Imagine if all fined motorists refused to accept fixed camera fines and elected to have their day in court – how many would it take to bring the court sysyem to its knees?


    D Barnett is right. Remove the proceeds from the police and H Agency and I’m sure there would be a very quick change of heart. we would certainly know then that it had been a money making enterprise.Safety had nothing to do with it!

  50. Paul Traquair

    When there is a major accident caused by massive deceleration then the information boards wil be made better
    By that time to late for the vehicles involved,
    But we all know it’s about raising revenue from the motorist.
    End of.
    Paul t
    Isle of Wight

  51. Ray

    I agree with the contributors.
    I would ask you to contact the relevant authorities and ask for a WRITTEN explanation of these (and other) similar occasions you have informed us about.

  52. Fred Hope

    I said to an engineer who does the control on M6 system that the controller of the system was mad. He said there is no controller. It’s automatic the problem in this case is a fault in inductive loop in road control or program corruption.
    Come back if you want more details.

  53. Martin Becker

    Its been going on for hundreds of years, the crown robbing the peasants, they just use technology now instead of men on horseback, oh no that was called taxation, sounds the same to me, Basically Legal Robbery. I’m moving to Spain, ASAP this country’s, F well i’m lost for words.

  54. bob williams

    There should be more protection for the motorist from these arbitrary, unfair, and unjustified reduced speed limits. Also, when there are legitimate changes to the gantry speed limit, there should be a mandatory time delay so that motorists passing immediately after a reduction without time to slow down are not unfairly penalised.

    The Highways Agency are incompetent. As I approached M4 J18 the other week, there were caution 40 mph signs. After I went over the brow of the hill, I found the 3rd lane blocked by debris, and managed to avoid it. I’m at a loss as to why they think that driving through debris at 40mph which would certainly cause damage and possible loss of control is sensible advice. What’s wrong with a lane closed symbol? Idiots.

  55. Rod norman

    When I was at work I traveled the M25 daily, sometimes the whole 125mile circle. The variable speed limits are lethal, every day I’ve seen them change, often for no apparent reason, causing drivers to jam on their brakes, I’ve seen dozens of tail end shunts cause by these crazy cameras. None of them are about road safety, they are just a revenue earner. Thankfully I’ve retired now so the M25 and its cowboy cops are but a distant unpleasant memory

  56. D Green

    This is so COMMON NOW ,either there is a legal speed limit shown advising of Road Works Ahead but no sign of workmen!
    Other speed limits of 20 mph near schools,this ok and alright and justified during TERM TIME ONLY but it is ridiculous during the school holidays .
    Maybe the Annual (ROAD TAX??) should
    Adjusted to allow for these things.


  57. John W

    A group of Texans I had working for me in Italy had a great solution to unfair speed cameras – target practice for their hunting rifles!

  58. Clive Hyams

    Did you take pictures of these signs? If so can I suggest you contact someone like the SUN or Mirror and see if they would like to run a story on such tactics, so that these attempts at fleecing the motorist at the expense of safety (your words not mine) are seen in a clearer light by a greater number of people. It is only by public opinion will things change.

  59. Richard West

    Having been the not so proud owner of 18 points I have to be ultra carefull about speed and lane diciipline so I end up feeling extremely vulnerable being stuck in lane 3 or 4 as instructed at 50 or even 40MPH whilst lorries and cars hurtle past inside and outside at regular speed. For 2 or sometimes 3 miles before you get to roadworks particually on the Kent section of M25

  60. Ian Fey

    Why so surprised, Hasn’t the Chief Contatable in Cambridgeshire just broken cover and admitted it is all about balancing the police budgets. Just another little point. Has anyone noticed anything similar to what they are doing in Sheffield which is building islands in the middle of the road at bus stops to create a traffic jam behind the bus and allow it a clear run to the next stop, never mind the chaos behind it.

  61. Sidney Frankel

    Sounds like lot of bloody idiots don;t know what they are doing. They are every-where-not fit to sweep the roads–or “refugees” who cannot read or write

  62. Rob Batchelor

    See this all the time 60 then 40 then national speed limit with no reason for the reduced limit M25 daily occurrence.

  63. Frank

    This happens nearly every night between Junc 14/15 to 16.Sometimes this gantrys are lit even at midnight.It’s because the idiots in the control room go home and forget to switch them off.



  65. Aitken Brotherston

    Who’d have thought it? A quasi public body trying to fleece motorists with the active assistance of the Government (who passed the law) and the corrupt courts (yes I can prove it) that enthusiastically support a whole raft of corrupt (yes again I can prove it) practices that criminalise perfectly safe and often innocent drivers. Getting the judiciary (who should be in the dock not on the “bench”) to accept their and the Government’s corruption in this is, as you might expect, another matter entirely. It would take a lot of effort backed by a lot of people to expose and correct this corruption but most people are too apathetic or busy or both to bother.
    It’s just not cricket. But such are the depths to which this country has fallen.

  66. Mike McGill

    When I was taught to drive I was shown how to evaluate the road, the conditions and the traffic, and adjust my speed accordingly. Today we are bombarded with a plethora of instructions, so instead of using their intelligence drivers go around obeying everything in sight (most of the time) with thumb up bum and mind in neutral. The recent flood of signs must have come via the EU, where nobody can do anything unless there’s a law that says they can !! I would be interested to know who owns the sign making companies.

  67. Martin

    Never mind protection to the non existent workforce, what about protection of the motorist in these matters, we all know these cameras are mostly revenue making machines, it surely needs a campaign to get this robbery scrapped and a legal issue being taken out against those responsible for slowing traffic when there is no need

  68. Denis Stables

    I believe this is another money making SCAM.How can they justify this because many drivers see these tactics all too often. Motorists are an easy target time after time.

  69. Peter Gunn

    The major causes of motorway crashes are being distracted, not concentrating and drowsiness. Driving at 60 mph on an empty motorway is a good way to go to sleep.

  70. Laughton

    Write to your MP -they generally write to someone further up the food chain and if these people get enough letters from MPs then they might eventually get the message.

  71. David

    Whilst I don’t want to gain any more points than I already have I’d just like to point out the following.

    You were given appropriate time to notice the change to 60mph. 300 yards or so to reduce by another 20mph to 40mph and then if you excited off the slip road I’m guessing there was another 300 yards to reduce by another 20mph to 20mph.

    I don’t get why your all getting so worked up. You don’t know why they were like that but did you go up the slip road to see what was going on up there. Maybe it was required but to avoid 70mph to 20mph they slowed traffic approaching the junction so it could be done safely.

    Just don’t speed and it’s not an issue. It wasn’t a hidden camera.

    If you were complaining about a sneaky van obscured catching people speeding then I’d agree you have cause to rant.

    Just saying.

  72. Vic Harby

    This government will do anything to get money from the not so rich people. Try do out do them. Vic H.

  73. Ray M

    From memory motorway speed limits can only be reduced by 20mph a time,ie 70-50 as that was thought to be an acceptable reduction. After 50mph 10 or 20mph reductions were allowed.
    The control rooms for motorway signs is normally in the Police area’s control room under the supervision of an Inspector.
    In the past the control room operators were either serving or retired Police Officers who had traffic or motorway experience.
    Nowdays it can be a civilian operator who is not neccesarily a driver.
    With the cuts in Police manpower what can happen is a motorist calls in with information about an incident, the person taking the call can seek permission to put a speed variation in place from the Control Room Superviser, ie Inspector, pending the arrival of a Police OR DoT officer to confirm the incident and alter or cancel the speed restriction.
    Motorway POLICE patrols are increasingly being used for ordinary road patrols hence a delay in them getting there, and some of the DoT officers are like the PCSO’s and I make no further comment on that.
    Any Police or DoT officer can tell the control room to alter or cancel a motorway speed restriction but it is then down to the Control Room staff to carry out the computer transaction to cancel or alter the signs.
    Can’t think of anything else to say.

  74. Ray Ward

    It is time we had a criminal code for the neglect and abuse of equipmebt in relation to road traffic law. Creating a criminal offence by those who neglect to maintain or monitor such equipment or who abuse its use. These offences should apply to individuals responsible as well as the authority concerned. This would no doubt cure this problem

  75. GO

    Typical of the idiots who drive the keyboards of these signs, bored out of their brains in a go nowhere job, need to get a proper job!

  76. Mike

    As usual get the motorists
    money any which way they can, we are always being targeted and always will be , as its easy money!!!!

  77. David Allen

    Similar happening 7.30 am last Sunday M1 near Nottingham.”Queues ahead
    50 mph”. Next gantry “Queues Ahead 40 mph”
    Third Gantry “All Clear” sign. no queues whatsoever. Just sloppy operation

  78. John Wales

    Yes agree with you. The biggest scam I have experienced is as follows. I have had the pleasure of attending to speed awareness courses in the last 4 years. On both occasions after completion of the course, I noticed a speed enforcement van within 1/4 mile of the course venue !!!

  79. pete slater

    I wonder who might be responsible and who would take responsibility in the event of a massive shunt pile-up. Particularly in a foggy/ icy road condition

  80. Keith Butcher

    If the powers that be insist this is not a cash cow from the motorist, Put ALL speeding fines to charity. Don’t hold your breath though.

  81. Roger Anderson

    Take a look on the M3 it looks like they are trying to limit the motorway speed to 50mph along it length by average speed camera this looks like lowering the speed limit to check if it works then roll it out to all motorways by the back door

  82. Lofty

    They need to put an intermediate (eg 60 / 50) speed limit on as if is unlawful to display a (30) i.e. restricted road speed limit temporary or otherwise following a national 70. Having said that there is no punishment provision in The Road Traffic Offenders Act for any maximum speed limit below 30. So why display it seems nonsensical.

  83. Joe Burke

    Can we not flood the transport minister with emails ,texts,etc.He won’t be happy when his systems get clogged up.

  84. Chris hutton

    This happened to me just off m11 heading towards Dartford crossing
    I had to swerve into slow lane to avoid them

  85. Adrian French

    In a third world country if you give idiots a little power corruption soon follows, that’s where we are

  86. Trevor

    This type of behaviour is
    dangerous and incompetent surely someone should answer to this as it is playing with safety.

  87. Steve Duckworth

    That sounds like an absolute disgrace if there were no road works or incident on the slip road. Causing unnecessary braking like this frequently results in rear end collisions.

  88. David Brigden

    As a private hire driver I am often travelling between Chelmsford and the London airports at all times of the day. Rairly does a trip go by where there is not some sort of traffic control on the Home Counties motorways. Sadly there is no obvious reason for the majority of them.
    On Saturday evening (5/12/15) I entered the anti-clockwise carriageway of the M25 from the A13 – junction 30, within half a mile a speed limit of 60mph was shown, this reduced to 50, then 40. The very next sign showed national speed limit with not the slightest sign of any problem. Just after J 29 the speed was once again reduced to 40 and cleared before I left the M25 at J 28, once again no sign of any particular reason.
    If this is clearly a revenue gathering exercise.

  89. Mike Wylie

    Yes high time the Highways Agency needs to be more accountable for the electronic signs they control; of all types I have seen some that either make no sense or have ambiguous meaning ie M 1 closed junction 25 is the junction closed or is the Motorway closed. Every time I ask about a particular sign I just get a load of polite whaffeland fobbed off. Some organisation with clout should be taking them to task!

  90. Redouan Ahmadi

    I think this outrages it happened a number of times now especially when the roads are clear and no workman present, until we all get together and challenge this behaviour they will keep on doing this.

  91. robert cook

    the highways agency a bunch of cowboys there in it with the top brass to fleece as much money out of the motorist as possible , this all started in the mid nineties under the corrupt labour regime sticking these shit bastard camera s every where , the police and the ruling classes make fortunes and have never looked back , we the motorist should fight back we are all of 35 million dont forget .

  92. Nobby Thorn

    I am glad I don’t live in the London area or indeed any city where it seems all local councils and the highways agency have lost all sence and reasoning and seem to delight in frustrating the motorist let alone using cameras as a revenue raiser. We motorists need to play them at their own game and drive at or below the limit so they loose revenue. Alternatively we raise a petition for government control of fines and to whom the revenue goes and for what purpose it is used.


    Thank you, Adam, and thank you to everyone who has written a comment about this crass stupidity.

    I am a 72 year old woman who used to speak out against injustice or senseless bureaucracy, however, lately the fire has gone out of my belly and I just can’t be bothered anymore; I ask myself : What good will it do, authorities winn in the end.

    Having read the post and feeling the way I have just described, I suddenly remembered the words of Edmund Burke: ” The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”

    Well done all of you!


  94. Peter

    20 mph on a m-way. If it was that dangerous slip road should have been closed. After all they love to close roads. A lot of Bristol is 20mph and it is just pathetic, just a sop to the arse up head down selfish cycle mafia. If driving is this dangerous and we cannot be trusted then regular driving tests would be useful, then we would all know how to drive safely to the conditions. No speed cameras, and no revenue. Mmm no revenue, that’ll never get thru. Police forces need the money of course, everything has been cut, oh but hang on, have their generous pension schemes been reduced. no way! Same with the councils, cut everything but not the pensions.

  95. Jens Hislop

    I have read the whole blog with great interest, and agree that it’s is ufair, corrupt, incompetent, uneccesary etc. etc. I am a retired Police officer and wish to point out that these cameras have nothing to do with the Police. Some of your bloggers blame the Police – please do not. It is the councils and Highways Agency who are the cuprits – and yes I have been done by a camera and had to sttend an expensive speed awareness course!

  96. Alan

    Can anyone confirm whether the speed limits are manually implemented or partially or fully automated? There are times when it looks intentional – for instance one drives some miles with a restricted limit although there is no obvious reason but then find queueing traffic later. I would understand that there might be an intention to reduce the flow reaching the back of the queue. At other times it seems as if some automatic event has triggered the speed limits – perhaps the measurement of flow at a certain point. And that would explain the situation described here albeit lead to the conclusion that that system might not be fit for purpose.

  97. Mark Lavery

    As you said it was late at night, so what if it was a frozen and frosty night???? A car or even multiple cars all having to rapidly decelerate from 70mph or more to 20mph in such a short distance!!! It’s a serious if not fatal accident just waiting to happen and it will all be down to the highways agency for implicating such stupidly potentially dangerous applications on our roads in the name of “road safety”!!!! PFT!!!! #moneygrabing #motoristtheeasytarget.

  98. Brian

    Can we have some positive suggestions for a remedy, please?
    The Highways Agency and the police are both licenced by the governent, i.e. they are devolved from the government to handle day-to-day matters which are not important enough to bother ministers and parliament.
    BUT, what are the terms of this so-called licence (or permission to act)?
    And where is the legal remedy which we can apply to balance these apparently limitless powers? If there is a Highways Agency, where is the Citizens Agency? THe lack of this balance means that the HA and police are a law unto themselves. That is just not right.
    Surely the AA or the RAC or even the Institute of Advanced Drivers, who should be campaigning on our behalf? (Or does the existence of their Legal Departments mean they have have a vested interest in defending us after we have been “caught”.
    Perhaps we do need a newspaper or Which? campaign to open up this black hole…
    Any other ideas?

  99. Dave

    Perhaps a freedom of information request to the DfT should be sent to ask what was the justification for the speed limits! You said ” a temporary speed limit appeared” was it already there implying maybe someone forgot to turn it off or did it actually light up as you approached meaning a whole lot different!!!

  100. Richard Januszek

    I drive from Heathrow or Gatwick onto the M25 fairly regularly and this kind of thing happens all the time, particularly late at night.
    It is confusing and dangerous.

  101. london liz

    Feel so powerless against these thieves, dressing it up as road safety, but we all know its a revenue making scam. Please someone contact the press or LBC radio with all this info. Why are we so accepting, other countries wouldn’t have it. We are paying for all their bad choices, so if there is some sort of petition to sign please post.

  102. Tim

    Totally agree but this is the same on the M42 near Burmingham Airport
    The speed limits go up and down all the time
    It’s not to help drivers or make roads safer it’s just there to make money
    These camera’s should be banned

  103. Chris P

    If all the fines for the police, government and any other establishment milking money out of all of us were automatically given to charity, there probably wouldn’t be any more speeding or parking etc fines. How about a petition to make them give the money to charity’s and not to line their own pockets?

  104. David McCance

    Yes Adam I quite agree on this issue and do know that this has been in place for at least 10 days to my knowledge. I was returning home after seeing a friend. it was about 11pm to ny knowledge. I put it down to incompetance by the highways authority. What it really needs is, a committee of people outside the authority durisdiction to oversee issues like this. but whatever you do it ALWAYS falls on deaf ears. My unit in my car didn’t pick this up either. David Mccance

  105. Gerry Foran

    Once again the motorist is the cash cow with the Authorities putting money first and safety last, You should start an online petition Adam and once it reaches 100,000 which I an sure it will then they will have to discuss it in the houses of parliament and will not be able to hide anymore

  106. Tim

    “Outrageous” “discusting” “disgraceful” “gross incompetence” “corrupt” “governed by greed” “scam” all terms used and very appropriately applied by the bloggers here, to which I add, highway robbery, British motorists are sadly seen as easy prey, I don’t use that word lightly, that’s what vultures do. I speak as a man who has driven all over Europe, around 3000 miles this year alone, and parts of the USA, and I have never encountered anything like this. At least one other blogger referenced Germany & Spain, absolutely correct √ & I think we all know what the French would do, which brings me to the place where I absolutely despair for all those drivers who must hold onto a clean licence for their livelihood. Action must be taken ASAP!

  107. Steaming Sid

    Don’t put a question mark in your title,its a fact. The thieving gits should be done for perverting the course of justice

  108. sam

    Another sure way of fleecing the battered motorists! A sure festive bonus for the criminals in authority trying effect their style of highway robbery. How do motorists protect themselves from such blatant robbery?

  109. Julian Caston

    I deliver cars and vans all over the country and therefore drive around 80 to 100th miles per year in all weathers. There are times on the M25 when the limit is 40 and the weather conditions are fine and yet on the same stretch of road the next day it was raining with heavy spray from the traffic and yet the limit was is a complete control. So Dickleburgh Turpin is alive and well then..oh! Sorry. .its the highways agency! !!!

  110. Martin Wilson

    I won’t add to the many comments raised here with which I largely agree. Does this blog get presented to the relevant ministry? If not, then these remarks should be transmitted on a frequent basis, even if it means finding a willing BTST member who has that individual as their MP.

  111. Sandie

    It does not really surprise me the highways agencies are only out for the money, it does not matter that it could be dangerous, but hay ho they get their money so why worry what happens to the poor motorist

  112. Mike

    Just a point. The Highways Agency no longer goes under that name. It’s now called, Highways England, as with all these new organisations it seems to me that they will have to make as much money to be self sufficient (profitable) as they can in these times of austerity. On the other hand it could have been a controller trying out the system, but I wouldn’t have banked on it. As you point out it could have caused an accident, this is something that needs pursuing ASAP, IMHO. As others have already said.

  113. Ian

    These signs and cameras are managed in England by Highways England. (HE) This is newly named body manned by existing Highways Agency staff. I have often asked them to explain what I can only call bizarre signage. Message boards displaying false and clearly out of date information which only serves to bring the system into disrepute. Additionally we should all be aware HADECS2 (Highways Agency Detection Electronic Camera) cameras (the ones sitting across gantries) are now obsolete. ( HADECS1 are the average speed cameras) This is because of what are known as ‘gantry jumpers’ – no these are not suicidal people but those drivers who accellerate between cameras then slow down for the next one only to accellerate once again. These drivers are a hazard to all. However if you look carefully under the gantries you may now see new cameras HADECS3. These cameras can see between gantries and can capture those drivers. There are many views on such devices, mine is they would not be necessary if we all drove properly. I do not condone any offence, neither do I condone subversive enforcement, it proves nothing. All a camera does is indicate a certain vehicle was being driven at a certain speed at a certain time and place. What I do support is overt policing, but government cuts have resulted in policing of our roads to all but disappear( by some 66% in most police areas). The way to defeat and make all cameras redundant is obey the speed limits. Nevertheless many speed limits are nonsensical and unrealistic. Cameras do not catch unlawful unfit vehicles or drivers. These variable signs extend often such speed limits to an almost impossible understandable degree. Also because the overhead signs were given non legal fonts it can be confusing to discern between say a 60 and a 50 the first digits being very similar. (Those illegal fonts by the way were ‘made’ to be legal by a change in the law) Otherwise it would have meant a very expensive change of signage. Furthermore this identification can be even more difficult in adverse or inclement conditions and /or inappropropriate siting. Of which there are many. I have experienced all of the above. On each occasion when contacting HE regarding what I consider to be inappropriate signing of any sort I have been giving unconvincing replies which have led me to believe those operating the message boards are in fact incompetent. They usually blame HATO (their own traffic officers) for not following up actions. That is not surprising as they too have been cut in numbers by some 50%. However they cannot place such blame on planned and inappropriate and in some cases illegal speed limit setting. All of the above leaves me to conclude what I have suspected for years, this government body is now totally incompetent.

  114. Sue

    I think it’s either a bloody dangerous money making scam! Or they’re trying to save wildlife from getting run over. Nope! I’ve changed my mind; this government don’t give a toss about anyone in this country i think it’s to fund the bombing in Syria.

  115. A Buchanan

    Can I suggest a freedom of information request to the Dept of Transport requesting clarification of this procedure and information on the consequences.

  116. Mike Hall

    It would appear to me that it was the guys in the control center just entertaining themselves. After all, it was around midnight and if there was no sign of any reason for the rapid speed reductions then I can think of no other reason. I don’t even think it was deliberate revenue generation. I do think the matter should be questioned and investigated because if I am right, somebody should be for the chop as it could have caused accidents.

  117. Barry Pullen

    Ho Adam I’m a class one hgv driver for a blue chip company and believe that this is to make money . I work permanent nights and this ice seen happen all to often to myself and travelling at 20mph on the m42 n bd section following the mandatory speed limit on the gantry whilst other hgv s fly by me at god knows what speed ! How dangerous is that ! I even rang highways agency to complain and say how dangerous this practice is on their part . Needless to say they tried to justify it . Despite not even a cone in sight or a workman of any sort .. or barely any traffic for that matter in the ewrly hours of the morning ! shameful and probably illegal practice !! Hope someone takes them. To task with some teeth as they need to be called to account on their dangerous variable speed limit system !! No excuses highways agency ! Someone is putting us all at risk !! Barry p . Leicester

  118. saleha Khan

    Hi Adam defo a money making scam or worse as it’s very very dangerous, are they serious about road safety or lining the pockets.

  119. J Anthony Farrell

    Perhaps letters to local MPs are called for. Based on the geography of complaints on the blog, this problem is widespread.

  120. Jonathan

    I use M25, M11, M1 fairly regularly on a motorcycle during most days. I have seen odd speed limit reductions but very few camera flashes. It would seem you have up to approx 10mph above a ‘posted limit’ and these limits reduce from 1 gantry to the next. To be fair – whether we like this or not, it is clearly visible. The way to combat what appears to be misuse is to constantly challenge it – but to protect your licence – go along with it. It needs a ‘body’ or organisation to relentlessly question all and every apparent incident of misuse. As said by Sheila – all it needs is for good men to do nothing!

  121. Dave

    Hi All. If all you car drivers think speed cameras are bad news when out and about doing your 8/12000 miles a year on the roads just think about lorry and bus drivers that do huge milage every year, well over 125000 miles.And against the clock. I have now retired after 54 years driving just about every type of vehicle ( PSV/HGV)all over UK/Continental and still have a totally clean licence. Not a single accident or even a parking ticket. but I now dread going out on the road in my car as it is only a matter of time before I get a NIP saying what a bad driver I am and get 3 points or attend a class
    and then being told I am a bad driver for doing a couple of MPH over the top at 2am on an empty road.This county stinks now with corruption of money grabbing nerds that wreck your life and enjoyment of driving.

  122. Jim

    This has happened to me. 50 mph limit normally 30mph because roadworks. Camera flashed late one Friday night, only me on the road and a ticket followed. I wrote a sarcastic but firm letter and ignored the stupid reply. Heard no more.

  123. chris

    Motorists are like mechanical cows…..There to be milked at every and any opportunity…. It’s absurd.

  124. Andrew

    I regularly drive a 44 tonne artic at night and this practice is very common throughout the ‘smart’ variable speed limit motorway section not just the M25. No Rachel they are not leftovers as they suddenly appear for apparently no reason. I experienced a situation of a 30 MPH speed limit displayed for forthcoming road works that were 5 miles ahead. Nothing else was on the rood at this time being 2am When arriving at the supposed ‘roadworks’ area nothing had been set up and the national speed limit was now being displayed after a 3 second ‘end’ sign. Thank goodness for cruise control. Won’t catch me out but your goods arrive late by that I mean your mail/parcels etc that are eagerly awaited!!!!!!!

    Can this be described as interfering with the mail? Illegal I am thinking.

  125. Roger

    Outrageous. Fortunately, they do not have these sort of things in Madeira, even on the newest roads there is some terrible driving, perhaps the authorities have not heard of them yet.

  126. Eric

    As if driving on today’s congested roads was not challenging enough now we have to be aware of tricks and subterfuge employed by the so called road safety systems and their operators to catch us out and impose penalty fines. I am sure that these latest underhand methods are being used to combat the rise of speed limiters and cruise controls in modern cars.

  127. Eric

    C an anybody answer this? A hand held camera records a number plate but what happens then? Does that data get stored in the camera for later evaluation? Who does that? Who ensures that it is not altered or tampered with? I got done for 24 in a 20 limit but my dash cam said I was doing only 18.

  128. Michael Weissbraun

    You are 100% right but what can we do about it.
    Presumably however crazy it is legal is it not?


  129. Peter

    It is a good job somebody is at least keeping us all aware of these obvious scams, I think that incompetence is not what is going on this is just another revenue creator.

  130. Roger

    Why is the motorist treated this way? It can only be for raising money and enforcing the motorist into a situation of being innocently forced ino a fine or points on their licence!

  131. phil penberthy

    I feel Adam, that this has been going on for a very very long time,
    we can only sit back and hope it will get better.

  132. anthony Odowd

    I have written to the ministry of justice about this previously as it is their duty to protect the safety of people. Drivers will slam the brakes on…its dangerous and stupid !They said its department of transport issue.
    we need an insurance company to take the government to court.

  133. peter owen

    This is a shocker.
    Can you get anyone to accept responsibility for this sort of activity?
    Do the Highways Agency even bother to reply?

  134. Ian

    Adam, Following the comments made recently by the Bedfordshire Police Commissioner, there can be no doubts remaining that ‘safety’ (ha ha) cameras are nothing more that revenue-raising devices, as most of us have believed for years. I regularly use the M1 between junctions 14 and 10 and as you observed on the M3, most times the limits are operational even when traffic is light and there are no road works taking place. The tories proclaimed ‘the war with the motorist is over’ Bulls**t! If road safety was the issue, more use would be made of methods to slow traffic (sleeping policemen, rumble strips, flashing speed indicating signs, etc. We are moving more and more towards a fascist state where the individuals’ freedom is eroded – we must all wear the straight jacket and there will be only one size to fit us all!
    My rant!

  135. Tim

    exactly the section of road I was court on doing 66mph (going with the flow of the traffic) on a Saturday afternoon when they had set it to 50mph…not finalised it yet with Surrey Police!!!

  136. Will

    OBVIOUS !!!

  137. John

    This is just typical of the government. If they want to fight a war in another country what a better way to pay for the paveway and other smart bomb’s being dropped. Don’t worry they will squeeze the motorists until they squeak to pay for it. What a bunch of bastards.

  138. Karl

    Hi Adam

    I travel on the M25 everyday at 05.30 hours.

    On several occasions between junctions 8 and 9 going clockwise, I have witnessed the same thing.

    I always slow down just in case, however it is really dangerous slowing down to 40mph when others are doing 70+ mph

  139. Bernie

    Yes, they do it all the time on the M25 at the evening commuting time.
    They say there is an “Obstruction” on the road, but once you pass the Sneaky Grey side camera’s you get the all clear signs!!

  140. Ken

    I think what happened was sheer incompetence, for the simple reason that traffic was clear/light when it happened. The time it happened was also a very good indicator of the incompetence.
    I had a similar experience on Christmas day in 2014. I was driving to Terminal 5 of Heathrow in the morning around 06:00 am on the M25. When I got to Junction 14 there were speed restrictions in place – 50 mph! There was hardly any traffic and it was free flowing so restrictions at that time, especially on that day, meant that a lot of the speed restrictions on the motorway are automatic; it has nothing to do with traffic conditions. Sometimes I think that the restrictions are there for the sheer glee of the operators; slowing down traffic just because they can and not because dangerous conditions exist down the road. How many of us have wondered why the traffic slowed down the previous five miles only to discover there was nothing causing the slow down?

  141. Jon

    Agree with most comments on this blog. Fortunately I have not been caught (yet) as I ignore these dangerous speed limits when there is clearly no reason for them being displayed. We have all past a driving test and hazard perception is an area covered in both practical and theory tests. I see these dangerous signs as a hazard should I obey them. Lobby the government all you like I don’t see a change coming and if a fatal accident occurs on one of these “smart” motorways I’m sure the powers to be would use it as a reason to extend the scheme. Civil disobedience would get the message across, how about a day when millions of motorists remove number plates( I know illegal ) only a small proportion could ever be caught and a central fund should be set up prior to the day of action to assist those caught. Or how about using the m25 for what it is commonly known as A CAR PARK. This would bring the debate to the forefront of MP’s minds when London is crippled. We seem to forget that the masses hold the power really if we choose to exercise it. happy motoring all.

  142. Peter Alan Horton

    Probably incompetence, not checking that previous reason for deceleration signs has been removed. But as non-observation of these signs is legally enforceable the result of such incompetence is extremely worrying.

  143. Ken johnson

    The cameras have NEVER been for safety reasons would they be happy if every one stuck to 30 MPH what would they do then


    in this day and age we try
    to teach our kids about BULLYING and how to combat it and yet all that is happening is the POLICE are BULLYING the motorist on a regular basis and as long as it carries on it will never go away they pick on anyone and everyone and in forty years of driving i have never had a clean license as a young driver i was picked on and now as a service engineer i may just be about to get another 3 pts thanks to cheshire police in runcorn they just bully the motorist to fund there revenue and nothing else

  145. Jim Brautigam

    As a former Traffic OfficerI would add that when the M25 was first opened the control room at Godstone covered the warning signals and Matrix signs for the M25, M3 and M23, as technology improved variable message signs were erected along with variable speed limits. The control was operated by Surrey Police on behalf of Dept of Transport. The control room could apply speed limits which were only advisable. Later computers were able to apply variable limits according to traffic volume and speed to try and give advance warnings of incidents ahead. The variable limits applied were enforceable by camera. Operators could still apply lower limits but again these were advisable.Subsequently the Highways Agency took over control of all motorways and their associated control rooms, Traffic Police were replaced by Traffic Officers who have limited powers to stop and direct traffic only. they do not have any other enforcement powers.Proper Traffic Police still patrol motorways but in a less obvious way and of course deal with any serious incident/ accident. I witnessed several occasions where emergency signs were activated eg ‘fog’ on sunny days,a call to the control and the staff rectified the error if they were able to.
    In the example quoted I feel this to be a “computer glitch” and if a driver was caught they might have a good case for acquittal,although I fear that the authorities would argue that there might have been an incident further along the motorway and that drivers should always comply with the signs displayed.
    In the 80’s when we had the 1st big pile up on the Kent/ Surrey border I recall that the last HGV that ended up in the pile up was some 6 miles away when the collision first occurred. How many of todays drivers think that 6 miles ahead of them is a collision that they will become a part of?

  146. Norman

    Hi Adam, Happy Xmas. It’s not logical to indulge in pure speculation. Before posting this blog, I would have asked the H.A for an explanation and proceeded from there. Thanks for everything. Norm.

  147. Con Zimmerman

    Afraid I put these anomalies down to inadequate staff – in every meaning of the word. Why should a jobsworth bother to turn off a fog warning when there is brilliant sunshine and you can see for miles? The M 180 is good at this. On the M1 I now get my passenger to check the iPad map to see if the claim that there is stationary traffic a few miles ahead, like it says on the overhead signs, is likely to be correct. .In the right hands all the traffic movement ideas are pretty good, but maybe the right hands cost too much.

  148. george

    If Safety cameras do the job for which they were intended then their revenue should suffer. Car insurance costs should also be cheaper because the roads should have become safer. How else can income be maintained otherwise.

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