More cameras to monitor Bristol's bus lanes

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More cameras could be installed to monitor bus lanes in Bristol to record the numberplates of cars who illegally enter them.

Bristol City Council currently uses cameras meant for monitoring traffic to spot offenders but is now tendering for a new company to add new cameras.

The council said it would cost £300,000 a year but it expects the cameras to "pay for themselves".

A Big Brother Watch spokesman questioned the need for the cameras.

Terry Bullock, the city council's highways and traffic manager, said they would only fine the worst offenders.

'Money-making exercise?'

"The sort of person we're after is people who go into bus lanes for some considerable distance, undertaking cars, and advantaging them and rather than the people who are law-abidingly queuing up.

"They will take pictures of everybody but we have a filtering process back in the office and we make sure we only issue penalty charges to those people who really are committing a true offence.

"It is a lot of money and is for up to 10 cameras and we do expect them to pay for themselves."

But Nick Pickles from Big Brother Watch said he was worried the cameras were being used just to make money.

"I must say I'm slightly confused because I thought the whole point of the council spending £300,000 and bringing in a private company was to have this system of more penalties being issued - they're hoping they'll pay for themselves.

"When it comes down to it, is this a commonsense way of addressing a problem of congestion or is it a money-making exercise for the council?"

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