M4 Junction 19 to Junction 20 Variable Speed Limits 13th Jan 2022

The request was successful.

Dear Highways England Company Limited,

I am making a freedom of information request and am hoping you can provide me with the information of the variable speed limits displayed at the following times and location:

-13th Jan 2022
- M4 J19-J20 Westbound
-Times: 07:30 to 08:00


- 13th Jan 2022
- M4 J20-J19 Eastbound
- Times: 18:15-18:45

I am aware that data held is not 100% accurate but would appreciate the data that you hold for these particular events.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs G

Price, Gareth, Highways England Company Limited

Our Ref 22167924


Dear Mrs Gardiner,


Thank you for contacting National Highways on the 14^th January 2022, I
have been asked to answer your query. This request has not been dealt with
under the Freedom of Information Act as this is information we give to
customers on a regular basis.


National Highways records some signal data for operational purposes;
however our database is not certified or calibrated to enforcement
standards, and it is not connected to the variable speed cameras. It may
contain errors, particularly in the times at which particular speed limits
were recorded, since (unlike the enforcement cameras) it was not designed
to provide 100% accuracy. This means that the records we hold do not
constitute legal proof of what speed limit was displayed, and could not be
relied on in court for the purpose of challenging a speeding ticket.


In order to answer your query, I consulted the information available to me
in this database; this indicates that on the M4 westbound J19-J20 between
0730hrs-0800hrs on the 13/01/22,  a 60mph speed limit was in force and on
the same day between 1815hrs-1845hrs on the M4 eastbound J20-J19, a 60mph
speed limit was in force.


The electronic signals on the M4 have been installed as part of the
J20-J19 smart motorway scheme. The aim of this scheme is to actively
control traffic flow and reduce congestion, using variable speed limits
set in response to conditions on the road, as well as by opening up the
hard shoulder as a running lane at busy periods. Existing smart motorways
have successfully reduced congestion without compromising safety, at a
significantly lower construction cost to the taxpayer than traditional
road widening.


Enforcement is one of a number of measures which are used to encourage
compliance with speed limits, so that the benefits of the scheme can be
delivered to road users. Camera warning signs are used to ensure drivers
are aware that enforcement is in operation on these sections. Variable
speed enforcement cameras are operated by the Police, and the information
generated by them is not held by National Highways ; this means that I do
not have access to any details of offences recorded.


However, I can tell you that the cameras are certified by the Home Office,
to ensure that they operate fairly and provide legal proof of what speed
limit was displayed. This involves strict design requirements which mean
that they can only enforce a reduced speed limit if it is correctly
displayed and the system is working properly; they are not capable of
enforcing a different limit to the one which is displayed. Because of
this, confirmation of the speed limit can only come from the information
held by the Police, which is used to generate the enforcement notices.


I hope that the information I have provided helps to explain why this
system is needed, and that there are safeguards in place to ensure it
operates fairly.


If you have any further queries, please contact our Customer Contact
Centre on 0300 123 5000 or [1][email address]


Yours Sincerely,


Gareth Price, Regional Enforcement Co-ordinator
National Highways| Brunel House | 930 Hempton Court | Aztec West | Bristol
| BS32 4SR
Web: [2]http://www.highways.gov.uk



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