Council officers were today slammed for using speed guns to catch drivers exceeding a 5mph speed limit – at a RUBBISH DUMP.
King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council has spent £1,800 on a device normally used by police to catch motorway speeders.
Anyone caught breaking the limit three times will be banned from the refuse centre at Harwick Industrial Estate in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
Council officials claim the speed crackdown is necessary to protect workers and members of the public using the site.
But motoring groups have labelled it ”ridiculous” and a ”complete waste of time” because the 5mph limit cannot be enforced by law.
Nigel Humphries of the Association of British Drivers said: ”This is ridiculous – there is no basis in law to enforce a 5mph limit.
”No member of the public should be overly concerned because you can’t be fined or have points on your licence.
”Its almost impossible to keep your speedo at 5mph anyway – this must be some kind of joke. It’s a complete waste of time.”
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ”It is unbelievable that the council is spending taxpayers’ money on putting in a speed camera in such an unusual location.
”There is a risk that banning residents from using the site for speeding will result in an increase in fly-tipping, or people burning rubbish.
”At a time of fiscal crisis the council needs to look carefully at its priorities.”
Drivers entering the site are met by 5mph speed limit signs and a speed camera sign identical to those used on public roads.
There is also a surveillance camera which could easily be mistaken for a fixed speed camera.
The depot is used by 28-tonne trucks operated by Norfolk Environmental Waste Services, Veolia Environmental Services and West Norfolk Council.
Council staff periodically use the speed gun on rubbish lorries, delivery vehicles, staff cars and members of the public using the site.
Motorists caught ignoring the speed limit cannot be fined, prosecuted or have points on their licence because the industrial estate is not a public road.
But anyone caught breaching the limit is sent a warning letter and ‘three strikes’ will lead to a permanent ban.
The council says the hand held speed gun was the most cost-effective tactic to tackle speeding drivers.
Councillor Brian Long, Cabinet Member for Environment, admitted several ”hazardous” drivers have already been kicked off the site.
He added: ”This is a very busy site, which is accessed by a whole range of people and employees.
”Because it is not the public highway it is not governed by the same laws, we are therefore responsible for ensuring that vehicles on the site are managed appropriately.
”Our first consideration has to be the continued safety of staff and visitors to the site.
”The speed limit has been in place for some time but, as is the case even on the public highway, not everyone abides by it.
”This speed camera is a very cost-effective deterrent, which has helped us to identify those who are driving too fast on the site so that we can deal with the issue proactively.”
Any council employee caught exceeding the 5mph limit would be dealt through the authority’s disciplinary procedures.