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Cameras to catch bus lane motorists

Cameras are being installed to catch motorists driving in bus lanes.

Six static cameras and a mobile detection unit will monitor drivers and issue £90 fines to those who flout the law.

Ciaran de Burca, director of transport projects at the Department of Regional Development (DRD), said: "This is not anti-motorist.

"What we are trying to do is make life safer and better for everybody."

The cameras will come into operation next month starting with a three-week period of grace where offenders will receive a written warning.

After June 21, a fixed penalty notice will be handed out.

Mr de Burca said: "After June 21, do not drive in the bus lanes or you will be fined."

The cameras will be situated at known hotspots across Belfast city centre including Castle Street, Donegall Square East, Great Victoria Street and East Bridge Street.

The mobile detection vehicle will cover a 50-kilometre area of greater Belfast.

Bus lanes have been the subject of hot debate since they were introduced in Belfast in October 2012.

Mr de Burca said they were here to stay.

"We have no intention of getting rid of the bus lanes any time soon," he said.

"About 90-95% of people obey the rules.

"They will be happy.

"There is a lot of frustration with the fact that people drive down bus lanes illegally."

The new enforcement system has cost around £200,000 but DRD expects to generate around £500,000 a year and said revenue would be reinvested in the transport network.

Transport minister Danny Kennedy said: " The enforcement measures are aimed squarely at the drivers who illegally use bus lanes to jump queues and cut across traffic."

The cost of the £90 fixed penalty fine will be reduced to £45 if paid within 14 days. There will also be an appeals process.

Public hire taxis and emergency vehicles will be exempt from fines.

Offences are currently dealt with by the PSNI, with detection classed as a criminal offence.

Police powers will not be affected by the new system.

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