By Sarah Tawton
An east London council has launched a remote camera system to catch out motorists committing traffic offences.
Redbridge council said its new CCTV enforcement system had already captured a number of "serious traffic contraventions".
The system is designed to spot motorists who make banned turns, illegally use yellow-box junctions or ignore restricted access signs.
Designed by the Videalert company, it uses a combination of video analytics and automatic number plate recognition.
Penalty charge notices
Developers say the system can "capture more offences than can be achieved by traditional legacy solutions.
"It will also deliver a higher return on investment and compliance whilst increasing road safety wherever it is deployed".
Cameras have been installed at four locations across the borough, with costs set to be recovered through the issuing of penalty charge notices.
Shoaib Patel is Redbridge council's head of environment, transportation and crime committee.
He said: "The system was installed to counter the high number of drivers that were ignoring the traffic restrictions that were in place, causing severe safety hazards to pedestrians and other drivers.
"The system is working well and we have captured a number of vehicles committing serious traffic contraventions, which is promising."
'Harvesting motorists for money'
But motoring groups have expressed fears about the new system.
AA president Edmund King said: "We are concerned that this automated system is more about harvesting motorists for money and profit than deterring bad driver behaviour.
"There needs to be the safeguard that, if this system starts fining drivers on an industrial scale, an analysis of the problem junctions takes place.
"The ticket haul may be partly down to the road layout.
"There is also the added concern that, if signing is inadequate, local drivers may learn to be wary.
"But outsiders may be caught time after time for mistakes, minor infringements or circumstances outside their control, such as making way for emergency vehicles."
'Common sense needs to be applied'
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "It is very worrying to hear mention of a phrase like 'will deliver a higher return on investment' in association with a new type of moving traffic offence enforcement camera.
"It automatically makes you think the council is investing to make money rather than to change driver behaviour.
"Common sense needs to be applied with a new system like this to avoid creating a situation similar to Clapham's 'money box junction' (in south London).
"There a camera has been positioned in a place where there are clearly issues with the design and layout of the road which leads to motorists repeatedly being caught out.
"If drivers are blatantly ignoring signage, then something needs to be done, but fairness should be key in the use of cameras like these.
"It is encouraging, however, to hear that footage will be reviewed before penalty charge notices are issued as.
"This will hopefully prevent some accidental driver errors being unfairly penalised."