‘THOUSANDS’ of people could now be fined for driving in a bus lane, a campaigner has said.

From January 20, new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be in operation on Bartholomew and Cornwallis Road in Cowley.

The cameras have been installed to catch those who are illegally driving through bus lanes.

The number plate recognition cameras were initially meant to be installed in March 2021, after an experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood was implemented by Oxfordshire County Council in Cowley.

Due to a ‘nationwide shortage and increased demand’ for ANPR cameras, however, the council said it had to delay the installation.

Those in support of the LTN scheme have said because of this delay, the bus routes became ‘rat-runs’, funnelling cars through the bus lanes, allowing people to continue driving through the LTN.

Daniel Pooley, who is a member of the community group Liveable Cowley, said that ‘thousands’ of people have still been driving in the bus lane, despite new rules enforced in March 2021 making it illegal to do so.

Mr Pooley, who lives in Church Cowley, said: “We should not need ANPR cameras, but they are needed because people will not follow the law.

“If people were not breaking the law [by driving down these roads], we would not need these cameras, and if people weren’t breaking the law, the LTNs could have been given a fair chance.

“Hopefully from Thursday, people will start following the law.”

From Thursday, if drivers are caught on camera driving through the bus lanes, they will be fined up to £60.

The cameras will operate 24 hours a day from Thursday (January 2022).

The council said it hopes this ‘will help provide safer pedestrian and cycle access’ on these two roads.

Speaking about the new ANPR cameras, Councillor Tim Bearder, who is the cabinet member of highways management, said: “Cornwallis Road and Bartholomew Road are busy routes for a number of primary and secondary schools in the area.

"I'm delighted that these cameras will help make these streets safer, quieter, and more pleasant places to live.

“The ANPR cameras will prevent through traffic on residential streets and make them safer for people of all age groups and abilities to walk and cycle.”