Sunday Telegraph on CCTV cameras


14 August 2023


At the weekend, an article in the Sunday Telegraph quoted a National Highways ‘whistleblower’ with claims broken CCTV cameras can ‘leave National Highways staff struggling to get “eyes and ears” on life and death emergencies’.

It’s important to state that our operators in our control centres play a vital part in operating the strategic road network and managing incidents. It is essential that we provide them with the tools and equipment to do their job.

We recognise that, over time, some of these tools – like CCTV cameras – have developed faults that prevent their optimal use.

It is exactly for this reason that we are investing £105 million between now and March 2025 to improve the performance of our operational technology, including CCTV, to make journeys even safer and more reliable.

We are aware of problems experienced by operators in relation to camera resting positions and we are already working with camera suppliers to address this issue. We also have an established reactive maintenance process to deal with faults.

At the same time, it’s also important to understand CCTV is not used to automatically detect incidents so, for example, the resting position of a camera is not critical. A control room operator will access the camera and control/point to view the network as required.

Smart motorways have a whole system of inter-related safety features working together to help keep drivers and their passengers moving safely. This system creates a layering effect which increases resilience and means there is no over-reliance on one single feature.

The latest data shows that, overall, in terms of serious or fatal casualties, smart motorways are our safest roads.

We are continuing our work to make them our safest roads in every way.