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Tackling traffic in Durham

Published August 22, 2011.

Members of the public are being reminded that as of next week Durham City’s road user charge system will be back and charges will be payable once more. The new camera recognition scheme replaces the rising bollard and forms part of the council’s ongoing commitment to reduce traffic in the heart of the historic city centre.

Following consultation with permanent residents, organisations and businesses in the area around the peninsula and World Heritage Site, the cameras for the automatic number plate recognition system were switched on last month but, to provide these groups with sufficient time to register exempt vehicles, the charges don’t come in to effect until August 29.

Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, Cllr Neil Foster, explains:”We have said on many occasions that we want to reduce traffic in this part of historic Durham to make it a more enjoyable area for pedestrians. We need to balance the needs of local people and businesses with those of visitors and the environment and this new system will support that.

“The first month of operation has given people the chance to register exempt vehicles and to familiarise themselves fully with the charges and conditions.

“Letters have been sent to people living in or operating businesses in the affected area, as well as groups and organisations requiring regular access, including the emergency services. I would urge everyone to use these last few days to ensure they understand the new system before it is fully commissioned on August 29.”

The system works via cameras mounted on the corner or Saddler Street and Claypath and replaces the old bollard which previously operated in the same area. The cameras automatically recognise vehicle number plates and match them against a data base. Registered exempt numbers will be ignored, while those which have not been pre paid or registered exempt will be asked to pay a £2 fee. Fines may be imposed of up to £30 for those who do not pay. Full terms and conditions will be available via the home page of the council’s website from tomorrow morning and letters have been sent to local residents and businesses.