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Speed Cameras and Speeding Enforcement in Thetford

Speeding by motorists is a regular concern of Thetford residents. Enforcement is carried out by Norfolk Police from time to time, and there is also a permanent fixed camera on Bury Road. There are a number of fixed Vehicle Acrtivated Speed Awareness Signs around the town, and the Town Council owns a mobile SAM2 vehicle-activated sign that can be placed in various locations around the town.

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A134 Bury Road Speed Camera

The fixed speed camera on the Bury Road is operated by the Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership, and went live on 18th September 2018. By the end of that year, 3152 offences had been detected and processed. Further details of the Norfolk Speed Cameras. The camera is a Truvelo D-Cam, which takes digital images rather than using film. The camera has an infra-red flash, which will not be visible to drivers. The camera was installed at the location after a high proportion of vehicles were found to be speeding during a traffic survey.

Thetford Community Speedwatch

Community Speedwatch teams are volunteer groups that are trained by the police to record traffic speeds on local roads. The speeds they record cannot result in any legal action, but the police will send advice letters to the owners of vehicles that are repeatedly noted by Speedwatch teams. In addition, if a significant number of speeding vehicles are noted at a given location, the Speedwatch team can ask the police to do their own speed enforcement at that location, which can then lead to fines and prosecutions.

Thetford Community Speedwatch had run for several years, but was disbanded at some point during the Covid Pandemic in 2020, due to a lack of volunteers to run it.

Fixed Vehicle-Activated Speed-Display Signs

Thetford has a number of fixed vehicle-activate speed awareness signs located at strategic points around the town. The locations are shown on the map above. These signs detect the speed of approaching vehicles, and flash a warning message if the speed limit is being exceeded. There is no recording of data or enforcement consequences, but they do provide motorists with a useful reminder of the speed limit.

SAM2 Vehicle Activated Sign

Thetford Town Council purchased a SAM2 Vehicle Activated Sign in October 2018 through Norfolk County Council's Parish Partnerships Scheme. The SAM2 is a small sign the detects vehicles and flashes up a positive or negative message depending on the speed. Anonymous speed data is recorded by the sign, to inform future enforcement action.

The sign can only stay at a given location for a maximum of four weeks, and then cannot return there for another eight weeks. Sites must be agreed with Norfolk County Council and the Police. As of January 2019, there were five proposed locations in the town (Castle street, Churchill Road, Brandon Road, St John's Way, and Kimm's Belt) which were selected at the May 2018 Town Council Planning Committee Meeting. An application was later made for a sixth location on Rosecroft Way, and a seventh location on Mundford Road was also added.

The Town Council initially delegated the operation of the sign to the volunteers of the Thetford Speedwatch Group. Problems were encountered obtained permission from the County Council for the installation of the sign at the proposed sites, and the sign was only able to be used in one location on Mundford Road. Norfolk County Council said that the sign was too heavy to be attached to the lamp-posts in other areas of the town. This is despite Norfolk County Council helping to fund the SAM2 and approving the Town Council's Application for the funding with the proposed locations listed.

At some point during the Pandemic, the Thetford Speedwatch Group disbanded, and the SAM2 sign was handed back to the Town Council. As of November 2011, it is still in storage, and has not been used since early 2020.

Enforcement of 20mph Zones

Like many other forces, Norfolk Police have a general policy of not prosecuting drivers for breaking 20mph Zone speed limits. As a result, the police do not usually carry out speed checks in 20mph Zones. However, this does not mean that the limit is not enforceable or that it is only advisory. Drivers travelling at more the 20mph are still breaking the law.

The reasoning for the lack of enforcement action by the police is that they believe prosecutions would not stand a good chance of being successful. "20mph Zones" do not have repeater signs, as they are supposed to be "self-enforcing" through the use of traffic calming measures. A defence for a speeding charge is that the speed limit was not sufficiently well signed. If the traffic calming measures are insufficient to force vehicles to stay under the limit, a speeding driver could claim that the signs at the entrance to the zone were not clear enough and so they were not aware of the limit. The police regard this defence as having a good chance of succeeding, and hence they do not want to waste resources launching prosecutions that are likely fail.

The only solution to allow proper enforcement would appear to be to change the "20mph Zone" into a normal 20mph limit with regular repeater signs, and to ensure that the signs at the start of the limit are sufficiently clear.

A134 Average Speed Camera

In September 2019, an average speed camera system was installed on the A134 Bury Road between Barnham and Ingham, in response to a number of serious accidents on that stretch of road. These will enforce the 60mph national speed limit on that stretch of road.

'30 for Thetford'

'30 for Thetford' is a campaign, started by the Safer Thetford Action Group (STAG) to implement a blanket 30mph speed limit within Thetford, from all the roundabouts off the A11 and other gateways into the town.

Norfolk County Council agreed to implement these speed limits, with funding from the two Thetford County Councillors' annual Highways Budgets. However, when the draft Thetford (Various Roads) 30mph Speed Limit Order 2021 was published for consultation in September 2021, an objection was received. The Council is currently deciding whether or not it can proceed with implementing the order.