SIX months on from when drivers were warned they “could be fined” for speeding in the 50mph average speed zone on the M4 at Newport, the cameras have still not gone live.

The 50mph average speed cameras were installed between junction 24 for the Coldra and junction 28 for Tredegar Park as part of the Welsh Government’s approach to tackling congestion in the area as recommended by Lord Burns’ report published following the work carried out by the South East Wales Traffic Commission.

They ‘went live’ on March 15 last year, when the Welsh Government said there would be a “bedding-in period”, before notices of prosecution would begin to be issued in the summer of 2021.

However, by the end of August, no notices of prosecution had been issued.

A month later, the Welsh Government announced that – as of October 4 – drivers “could be fined” if they were caught speeding in the 50mph zone around Newport.

However the key words there are “could be”.

When asked about how many people in the six months after October 4 had received fines for speeding in the average speed zone around Newport, a GoSafe spokeswoman told the Argus that the systems were not yet live.

In practice, this means that no fines have been issued as a result of the average speed cameras – although some drivers may have been clocked by manned speed cameras – in the 13 months since the cameras were switched on.

A spokeswoman for GoSafe said: “Due to the advent of digital technology and the demands upon IT departments to install several camera types, we have reached a point where significant development and investment in systems is required before we can make these schemes live and absorb the extra demand which will arise as part of these schemes.

“To that end, we have approved additional resourcing in the IT staff team to assist with the backlog of development work to bring all schemes online.

“To date, our recruitment attempts have been unsuccessful and have meant that we are unable to secure the staff to deliver the IT solutions required.”

GoSafe have “dedicated resources working diligently on this matter to ensure that we continue to make progress towards our enforcement goals,” the spokeswoman added.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We continue to work with GoSafe and the police to develop processes that support speed enforcement and education around this location.”

As well as to ease congestion, the 50mph average speed limit was introduced to address air pollution levels on that stretch of the motorway.

In September, the Welsh Government announced that since the introduction of its five clean air zones in 2018, it had “been successful in significantly lowering the levels of nitrogen dioxide in affected areas by up to 47 per cent.”

However, this claim omitted the impact of having fewer vehicles on the roads as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

The Welsh Government denied that it was misleading to make the claim while omitting the impact of the pandemic.

An updated Air Quality Plan will be published in May, a Welsh Government spokesman said when asked by the Argus if updated figures were available. This will include annual average air quality data for the 2021 calendar year.