Number plate cameras could be used to stop Shropshire rat runs

Number plate recognition cameras could be used to stop motorists using 'access only' roads in the county, it has been revealed.

An ANPR camera. Pic: Vysionics
An ANPR camera. Pic: Vysionics

Shropshire Council Conservative cabinet member Ian Nellins has been pressed on the matter by Ludlow Liberal Democrat councillor Andy Boddington.

The issue has arisen after the council said it planned to install the cameras on Crowmeole Lane in Shrewsbury. A consultation on the plans closes later this month, and a decision will then be taken whether to implement a pilot scheme.

That came after drivers were found to be ignoring an order which closed the road to through traffic.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras would alert officials to anyone flouting the rules and driving along the road.

The council would then be able to fine offending drivers, and if the amount received exceeds the ongoing running costs any surplus would be ring-fenced for future active travel schemes.

The cameras could be installed on Crowmeole Lane in Shrewsbury

Councillor Nellins, the council's cabinet member for climate change, natural assets & the green economy, said that the council would look at how the introduction of the cameras works on Crowmeole Lane, if the plan goes ahead, to see if they could work in other locations.

Councillor Boddington highlighted roads such as Lower Corve Street in Ludlow, where the access-only rules are regularly ignored by drivers using it as a rat run, as one which could benefit from the cameras.

He said: "As one example, the Lower Corve Street in Ludlow is designated 'no vehicles except for access' because it is a historic residential street. But it has become a rat run for hundreds of vehicles daily, a situation that is getting worse due to new housing developments."

Councillor Nellins said: "If the Crowmeole Lane ANPR-enforced point closure scheme is to go ahead, it will run initially as a pilot scheme.

"This will give council the opportunity to learn and evaluate the effectiveness and public acceptability of using the new civil enforcement powers to encourage more active travel.

"As noted in the cabinet paper, council will apply these learnings to assess the suitability of other sites that may benefit from ANPR-enforced closures.

"The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), which is currently under development, will identify those sites that will benefit from point closures and similar interventions that restrict vehicle access as well as the timeframes – short, medium and long-term – for delivery of schemes."

In a written question to Councillor Nellins, Councillor Boddington asked how long it may take to look at the results of the Crowmeole pilot.

He said: "What is the council’s timetable for assessing the results of the Shrewsbury ANPR, assessing sites across the county where ANPR might make a significant difference to traffic management, safety and quality of life?"

Councillor Nellins said that if the Crowmeole pilot goes ahead it will be due to start next year, with six-month monitoring taking place.

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