Frequently Asked Questions

General
» What is a Safety Camera Partnership?
» How is the Partnership funded?
» What are the speed limits?
» When did the Partnership commence operating?
» Why do we need a Partnership?
» Who are the Partners?
» What other Partnerships are operating?
Cameras
» Where about are the camera sites?
» Why are these particular locations selected?
» How will motorists know where these cameras are operating?
» What do the mobile camera vans look like?  Are they clearly visible?
» How do I know that the camera equipment is accurate?
I've been caught speeding
» So what will happen if I am caught speeding?
» Please note that Northern Safety Camera Partnership cannot accept mitigating pleas.
» Can I attend a driver awareness course as an alternative to the Conditional Offer?
» I have a non UK driving licence, will I still be offered a Conditional Offer?
» Can I pay a bigger fine and avoid the points on my licence?
» Will I always receive a Fixed Penalty?

General

What is a Safety Camera Partnership?

This is a road safety initiative launched by the Government, which aims to reduce the number of road casualties by promoting safer driving within the legal speed limits. This aim will be achieved through the use of safety cameras in areas where there is a demonstrable level of collisions and speeding. The Northern Safety Camera Partnership operates in the Highland area.

How is the Partnership funded?

From 1 April 2007, the Partnership is funded by means of grant from the Scottish Government. This grant aid enables the individual partner bodies, within the Partnership, to recover their budgeted costs incurred in operating the safety camera service. There is no link between payment of penalties issued for speeding offences and the funding of the safety cameras.

There are strict rules on how all Safety Camera Partnerships operate within the Scottish Safety Camera Programme. These rules ensure that cameras are targeted at the areas of greatest need in terms of casualty reduction and Parterships must also meet stringent operational requirements in terms of visibility, conspicuity and signage.

What are the speed limits?

The general speed limits are given in Sections 123 of the Highway Code.

These are the general limits applicable but limits may change or be altered temporarily. These are maximum limits but circumstances may dictate that the speed at which it is safe to drive your vehicle is lower than these limits.

 

National Speed Limit Applies National Speed Limit AppliesBuilt-up Areas Single CarriageDual Carriage Motorway
Road Signs
30mphnational speed limitnational speed limit70mph
CarCars and Motorcycles
including car derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight
30mph60mph70mph70mph
CarCars towing
including car derived vans and motorcycles
30mph50mph60mph60mph
CarBuses and Coaches
not exceeding 12m in overall length
30mph50mph60mph70mph
CarGoods Vehicles
between 2 and 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight
30mph50mph60mph70mph
CarGoods Vehicles
exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight
30mph40mph50mph60mph


All speeds stated are national speed limits in miles per hour (mph) and apply to all roads unless signs show otherwise.

The 30 mph limit applies to all traffic on roads in England and Wales (only Class C and unclassified roads in Scotland) with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.

* 60 if articulated or towing trailer

Built up areas generally have roads with street lights. Unless signed otherwise, the speed limit is always 30mph, no matter the number of lanes.

Single carriageway is an undivided road with no central reservation.

Dual carriageway is a two way divided road with a central reservation that you are able to cross from side roads.

Motorway is a two way divided road with a central barrier containing slip roads. It is only possible to access a motorway via slip roads and there is no crossway traffic.

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When did the Partnership commence operating?

The Partnership has been in operation since July 2004.

Why do we need a Partnership?

Over the past few years there have been numerous road deaths across the Highlands and Islands, North Command Area of Police Scotland. The cost to the Emergency Services and NHS as a result of these collisions is enormous and in Human terms immeasurable. Community consultation, undertaken by Police Scotland, shows the main concern of the majority of respondents is dealing with speeding motorists. A Partnership approach has been shown to be the most successful method of dealing with this concern. Current research demonstrates a clear link between speed and personal injury collisions. Government figures suggest a 1% reduction in average speed levels will lead to a 5% reduction in casualties.

Who are the Partners?

Northern Safety Camera Partnership consists of Highland Council, Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service , Scottish Ambulance Service and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service.

What other Partnerships are operating?

Including Northern, there are a total of eight Safety Camera Partnerships operating across Scotland.  Links to the other Safety Camera Partnerships are on our links page.

Cameras

Where about are the camera sites?

The Northern Safety Camera Partnership uses mobile safety camera vans at a number of sites across the Highlands with a history of collisions and excessive speed.  There are no fixed or red light safety cameras in the Highland area.

Why are these particular locations selected?

The areas of operation are selected because they fulfil the criteria of having a proven history of collisions and excessive speed.

How will motorists know where these cameras are operating?

Details of the intended areas of enforcement will be published on a weekly basis on this web site and in the local press.

What do the mobile camera vans look like?  Are they clearly visible?

All our mobile camera vans are highly visible and are clearly marked in order to maximise the deterrent effect. There is also a comprehensive network of road signs advising motorists of safety cameras throughout the area.

How do I know that the camera equipment is accurate?

All the equipment used by the Partnership is tested and calibrated on an annual basis and issued with a calibration certificate. The mobile cameras are recharged and checked daily, both before and after use, by our trained operators.

I've been caught speeding

So what will happen if I am caught speeding?

The law states that registered keepers of vehicles photographed by safety cameras while exceeding the speed limit will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution by mail within 14 days of the alleged offence. If the registered keeper was not the driver, further notices will be issued until the driver is in receipt of a Notice of Intended Prosecution, as required by Legislation. In most cases, once the identity of the driver is confirmed, a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty will then be issued as an alternative to prosecution. This will offer an opportunity to pay a fixed sum of £100 and have three penalty points endorsed on your licence. The Fixed Penalty must be paid within 28 days of its issue date. If you are recently qualified driver and you accumulate six or more penalty points within two years of passing your driving test, your driving licence will be automatically revoked by DVLA Swansea. In these circumstances you would have to re-take both the theory and practical parts of the driving test in order to have your licence returned.

In some circumstances however, it will not be possible to issue a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty. In these cases, NSCP is required to report the circumstances to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of prosecution.

Please note that Northern Safety Camera Partnership cannot accept mitigating pleas.

Some of the reasons we receive are listed below. The list is not exhaustive but they are all considered irrelevant in the eyes of the law.

I was only caught speeding because:
I was unfamiliar with the road
I didn’t see the signs
I didn’t know about the mobile cameras
I have a clean licence
There were no other vehicles about
I was distracted
The car behind forced me to speed up

Can I attend a driver awareness course as an alternative to the Conditional Offer?

No, in Scotland driver awareness courses are not offered as an alternative for this offence.

I have a non UK driving licence, will I still be offered a Conditional Offer?

A change in legislation in 2009 means you may now be able to receive a Conditional Offer.  However, offences may still be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Can I pay a bigger fine and avoid the points on my licence?

No. The Conditional Offer is a prescribed alternative to prosecution. The level of monetary penalty and the points are both fixed by legislation. The choice is to accept or reject the Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty in its entirety or not.

Will I always receive a Fixed Penalty?

In the majority of cases yes, however, if your speed is above certain limits the fixed penalty may not be offered. In these instances you may be prosecuted in Court where you may be fined and have your driving licence endorsed or even be disqualified from driving. If this is to occur you will receive a summons from the Procurator Fiscal of the Court in the area where the offence is alleged to have occurred.