NEW cameras will help catch and punish drivers straying into bus lanes in Oxford from next week.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are being activated on Monday.

The cameras will guard the entrances to 'bus gates' – routes into the city centre which are only meant to be used by public transport at peak times of the day.

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While some new cameras will be placed on existing bus gates, others are being switched on at newly-introduced gates, and are aimed at cutting traffic in the city centre.

The move to the new camera system was announced in October and the go-live date of June 15 was decided to support the increase in cyclists expected as lockdown eases.

The new locations for camera enforcement are:

• Folly Bridge

Abingdon Road

• Barton Park.

Existing bus gates which will get new cameras are:

• High Street

• George Street

• Castle Street

• Magdalen Street.

Signs have been in place for years to warn motorists about the existing bus gates and, for a period, the new sites will also get signs to draw attention to the new enforcement.

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Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for highway operation and delivery, said: “ANPR is more efficient and allows more flexibility to look at potential contraventions after the event.

“The new cameras have been planned for some time and I am pleased that they will be switched on shortly. As we start to see lockdown being freed up we want to see more people switching to sustainable transport – cycling, walking and public transport are all preferable to driving for so many people.

“The county council is working hard to ensure that Oxfordshire’s transport system is ready to meet the demands of more people starting to get out and about, and the new cameras will play a small part in that.

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“They have been used for many years in the centre of Oxford to make sure that car-free roads stay that way for the benefit of sustainable transport.

“And as the technology has developed and need for more enforcement come about we are meeting the challenge.”

Bus gates are being more widely introduced as part of a scheme called Connecting Oxford, which is aimed at cutting traffic in the city.

Another part of the scheme which is due to be introduced in the future is a charge on the number of car parking spaces at Oxford's large employers.