MORE than 1,600 drivers have been caught speeding on the M4 around Newport since the 50mph average speed cameras were switched on.

The cameras between junction 24 for the Coldra and junction 28 for Tredegar Park were finally switched on in November – some 20 months after they were installed.

The cameras were initially installed as part of the Welsh Government’s approach to tackling congestion in the area following the cancellation of the M4 relief road, as recommended by Lord Burns’ report, but were later marketed as a method to address air pollution levels on that stretch of the motorway.

The delays had been blamed on new IT systems and staffing shortages.

GoSafe, which is responsible for the speed camera enforcement, has now revealed that 1,648 drivers were caught speeding between the cameras going live and the turn of the year.

In November, 577 speeding offences were recorded, while 1,071 offences were recorded in December.

A GoSafe spokesperson said the success of the cameras was not being measured by the number of people caught speeding.

“We mark compliance with the speed limit as an effective measure as it means that the cameras are encouraging people to stick to the limit,” they said.

Welsh Government figures released in September showed air pollution levels – the annual mean concentration of nitrogen dioxide (μg/m3) – on the M4 at Newport dropped from 63.5μg/m3 in 2018 to 39.2μg/m3 in 2021 – a 38 per cent fall.

The 2021 figures were higher than in 2020, which can mostly be put down to a lower number of vehicles on the roads due to the strict coronavirus lockdowns. It is worth noting, however, that Wales was also under lockdown in the first quarter of 2021.

GoSafe added that all fines went to the Treasury and were not used by GoSafe.