An analysis of all 12 fixed speed camera sites in North Wales.

Holt Rd Mold Rd Coedpoeth Coed-talon Mynydd Isa Soughton Hawarden Pentre Oakenholt Greenfield Mostyn Penmaen-bach
 
 
Wrexham — Holt Road
A534 Holt Road heading into Wrexham from Nantwich.
SJ 343 508 Streetmap
Installed 17 Feb 2003
The speed camera is situated on a section of road which has supporting walls topped by railings either side. There is no property with access to this bit of the road. There are sections of this road where 30mph is both appropriate and necessary, so why have they positioned the camera on the one section where 40mph would be safe? The reason is clearly that it is hidden by the hill crest. It is also notable that the camera is placed after the pedestrian crossing. Now we may be missing the point here, but if a speed camera on that side of the road is supposed to slow drivers down for a pedestrian crossing, shouldn't it be positioned before the crossing?
P.S. We'd love to know who trained the safety conscious dog on the crossing — shame it can't reach the button.

 
Wrexham — Mold Road
A541 Mold Road heading into Wrexham from Mold or the A483 bypass.
SJ 327 509 Streetmap
Installed 17 Feb 2003 (Wrexham Mail) / 21 Mar 2003 (DfT).
This road clearly used to be a dual carriageway, but it has been thoroughly trashed by political correctness. A chaotic mixture of cycle lanes, traffic islands, road narrowing by use of white paint, and fiddley turning lanes have been juxtaposed so that the place looks like a Lego road layout done by a four year old. Despite this, the section of road where the camera lurks still has two lanes and 40mph would be a perfectly safe speed limit. In the background you can see that this camera is also sited after a pelican crossing rather than before it.
On 27 Nov 2003, The Sun (second story on page) reported that this camera had earned £300,000 in just ten months, and prosecuted over 4000 drivers.

 
Coedpoeth, Wrexham
A525 in the village of Coedpoeth heading north-west / uphill.
SJ 287 509 Streetmap
The speed limit here is appropriate due to a narrow road and houses either side and cars parked on the roadway, however, there is no obvious accident blackspot that the camera can be seen to be protecting. One concern might be vehicles travelling down the hill entering the village at excessive speed, but if this is the case why isn't the camera further up the hill at the start of the village and on the other side of the road?
The 'speed humps' you can see in the photo are two dimensional — they are just flat red squares, and achieve nothing except to make the village look a mess.

A fatal accident occured on the High Street, Coedpoeth in January 2004. The driver of the car was travelling at 29mph in a 30 zone and appears to have been distracted because he was watching his speedometer rather than the road.
Daily Post article
 
 
Coed-talon, Flintshire
A5104 in the village of Coed-talon heading north-east / downhill.
SJ 268 589 Streetmap
The speed limit at the camera is 30mph, this is appropriate for the location in the centre of the village. However, the 30mph speed limit starts about half a mile before the village, when there are only a few commercial properties and the odd house to be seen. It should start near the top of the straight where the camera is. As a result of this by the time drivers reach the speed camera they've decided that the limit is stupid and are already ignoring it.
The extended 30 limit at the south end of the village is nothing compared to the unbelievable stupidity of the 30 limit carrying on down the hill beyond the village for over a mile through a narrow wooded valley with no properties at all alongside it. This limit is one of the worse abuses of a speed limit we have ever come across. It is totally unjustified and serves only to incite contempt. At the bottom of the hill the road has a left hand bend into another village, Pontblyddyn. We discovered that the hedge on the outside of the bend had numerous bouquets of flowers attached, and a police sign appealled for witnesses to an accident.
BBC report on the fatal accident
Not only has the stupid extended 30 limit clearly failed to prevent a fatal accident, we have to ask whether it caused the accident. The continuous 30 limit between the two villages means that there are no speed limit signs at the entrance to either village, nor are there any bend chevrons — presumably because the naive council think people will actually observe the 30mph limit. There is thus no warning to people to slow down on entry to the villages. Drivers and motorcyclists incited to exceed the 30 limit down the valley by virtue of its blatant stupidity, might thus fail to slow adequately on the approach to Pontblyddyn. The 30 limit between Coed-talon and Pontblyddyn needs to scrapped now before it kills anyone else.

 
Mynydd Isa, Flintshire
A549 Mynydd Isa heading west from Buckley.
SJ 258 637 Streetmap
This camera is situated in a 30 limit and directly outside a children's playground which you can see in the picture. There are houses both sides of the road, but those on the left back onto fields. The road is wide and straight and is a main road, so some might consider that the limit really ought to be 40. Although positioning a speed camera outside a children's playground seems like a good idea, if the authorities were so concerned about children crossing the road safely, wouldn't it have been a better idea to install a pedestrian crossing instead? The camera is located near the top of the hill so is partly hidden by the crest of the hill. Putting the camera on the crest of the hill, with a crossing where the camera is, would have made more sense. At least there's a warning sign!
In May 2005 this camera was stolen:
Daily Post — Is there a MAD man on the loose in North Wales?

 
Soughton, Flintshire
A5119 Soughton heading south from Flint / A55.
SJ 243 666 Streetmap (The grid ref given by Arrive Alive is wrong.)
This camera is right at the start of the 30 limit as you come into Soughton. For once the 30 limit starts at about the right place — where the village starts. The camera also protects a crossroads in the village where sightlines are not good. Prior to the village is a mile long straight section of road where one might expect drivers to be making good progress, the camera is clearly visible as you approach the village. This is a good example of how a speed camera can be positioned in a sensible place to genuinely aid road safety. The only improvement we'd suggest would be move the crossroads warning sign from it's present position (half in the hedge beside by the speed camera) to the same post as the 30 limit!

 
Hawarden, Flintshire
A550 heading south into Hawarden from A55 / Queensferry.
SJ 315 669 Streetmap (The grid ref given by Arrive Alive is wrong.)
This camera is situated just after the 30 limit starts on a long straight road heading into Hawarden. Although there are then houses on both sides of the road, it is a long straight wide main road, and the limit ought to be 40. Certainly in other towns you'd find roads just like this with a 40 limit. We'd be interested to know when the 30 limit began, when the speed camera was installed, and whether it was a case of cause or effect.
Since this photo was taken we've received reports that this camera has twice been uprooted and dumped on the ground.

 
Pentre, Flintshire
B5129 heading south-east from A55 / Queensferry.
SJ 324 676 Streetmap (The grid ref given by Arrive Alive is out by at least 2km!)
As our photo shows, someone has taken exception to this camera and daubed it with paint. The road has a 30 limit which at this point is not appropriate as there is a wide grass verge between the footpath on the right and the roadway. There is no footpath, nor need of one, on the left.
Several hundred yards behind our camera is a crossroads where a 30 limit would be appropriate, but the camera is situated much too far away. By the time drivers have reached the crossroads they will have accelerated again. At the camera location the road should have a 40 or 50 limit.

 
TopThe next 3 cameras are all on the A548 Flintshire coast road.
The A548 coast road is plagued by unreasonably low limits, 50mph dual carriageways that should be 70, 40 limits that should be 50, and 30 that should be 40. How they expect anyone to respect the 30 limits that genuinely should be 30 is beyond us. Limits are also inconsistent, dual carriageways have 70 limits in one place and 50 in another, roads with houses on one side only are 40 in one place and 30 in another. Unless you're watching the frequent limit changes like a hawk, you've often no idea what limit they've applied to any particular bit of road. As the primary route to the P&O Irish Sea ferry terminal at Mostyn, and with some ferry services departing at night, these cameras can be sure of a regular supply of unwary victims.

 
Oakenholt, Flintshire
A548 heading south from Flint into Oakenholt.
SJ 254 722 Streetmap
This camera is situated in a 30 limit as you leave Flint and enter Oakenholt, though you might not notice as some brainless idiot has incompetently arranged for the village name sign to be obscured by the camera. We suspect film is not used in this camera as when we took this photo in early November the camera's view was obscured by branches — a few months ago it would have been completely blocked by leaves (Don't take our word for it though!). There is no obvious accident hazard here, and being a main road the limit ought perhaps to be 40mph. In the background you can just see a speed camera warning sign on a lamppost — thanks!

 
Greenfield, Flintshire
A548 heading north-west past Greenfield.
SJ 196 775 Streetmap
This is unquestionably the worst sited speed camera in North Wales, it's probably the worst in Wales, it may even be the worst in the UK.
Dating from a time when the malicious hiding of speed cameras was all the rage, this just takes the biscuit. They must have spent weeks scouring all of North Wales to find this nice little earner.
As you approach this disused railway bridge you notice a sudden drop from an already unreasonable 40, to 30. There is no apparent reason for this reduction, no houses, no schools, no warning signs for any unseen hazard, no nothing. There is also absolutely no indication whatsoever of a speed camera ...

SURPRISE!
They have reached new heights of deviousness here by managing to completely hide not only the speed camera, but the markings on the road as well. The fact that the camera is now painted yellow is irrelevant, it could have a neon sign and would still be hidden from view. We would like to know when the 30 limit was imposed, and when the camera was installed. Did they both happen at the same time just to increase the camera's profitability?
The continued existence of this money grabbing camera is a disgrace, and if the North Wales Safety Camera Partnership want anyone to believe that they want speed cameras to be 'visible', and that cameras are about road safety not profit, this has to go, and it has to go now.

 
Mostyn, Flintshire
A548 heading north-west towards Mostyn.
SJ 170 794 Streetmap
This last camera on the A548 north-west bound is just after the start of a 40 zone that should be NSLA, or at the very least 50. If you've been caught by this camera recently, we have some good news for you. As you can see, the 40mph sign on the right is obscured by foliage. The law clearly states that for a speed limit to be legal, and thus enforcable, it must be clearly signed. Specifically that there must be signs on both sides of the road that are clearly visible. The overgrown sign means quite simply that this speed limit is currently illegal and cannot be enforced. If you have been done by this speed camera recently, we suggest you contact a solicitor.
See our Speed Limit Signs page for more information.
 
Penmaen-bach, Conwy
This photo is of a temporary Gatso in the roadworks at the entrance to the Penmaen-bach tunnel westbound on the A55.
SH 751 782 Streetmap
There is another temporary Gatso camera in a similar position eastbound at the other end of the tunnel, but there is nowhere to stop and take a photo.
With a contraflow operating in a two lane tunnel, 40mph is for once a reasonable limit to impose in the roadworks.
We shall refrain from commenting on the permanent Gatso on the currently closed eastbound carriageway around the headland until the roadworks are complete, lest the situation change.
Conclusion
The North Wales Safety Camera partnership have a lot of work to do if they are to convince drivers that fixed speed cameras are being used for road safety rather than making money. They could not make a better start on this task than by scrapping the speed camera at Greenfield.
 
It is interesting to note that 11 of the 12 camera sites are in Flintshire or Wrexham. Whether this is due to the local authorities in those areas or to the Police is not clear. Perhaps the reason is that this is the most densely populated part of North Wales, or perhaps they feel that cameras in the more remote parts of North Wales wouldn't last very long ...
 
Footnote
Since this survey was carried out, additional fixed speed cameras have been installed on the B5129 at Sandycroft in Flintshire (the same road as the Pentre camera above), and on Rhyl Promendade in Denbighshire.  
 
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