All speed cameras on the M1 and M25 are not about to ‘go live’ enforcing a 72mph limit

17 November 2023
What was claimed

All cameras on the M1 and M25 will be set at 72mph with an “auto ticket generating system” from “midnight tonight”.

Our verdict

False. Multiple police forces confirmed there would be no changes to speed enforcement on their sections of these motorways. National Highways confirmed there are no new cameras and all are in operation.

Posts claiming all speed cameras on the M1 and M25 will be set at 72mph and start auto generating tickets at “midnight tonight” have gone viral on Facebook. However, this is not true.

Thousands of people have recently shared an image with text warning: “All cameras in UK on M1 and M25 go live at midnight tonight, set at 72 mph Auto ticket generating system. Watch your speed and tell everyone else to watch their speed [sic]”. 

But National Highways (the government agency responsible for operating and maintaining motorways and major A roads) confirmed to Full Fact that there are no new cameras on either motorway, and that all existing cameras are already in operation. 

Multiple police forces also confirmed there would be no changes to speed enforcements on the section of the motorways they are responsible for, including the Metropolitan Police and forces in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Thames Valley, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Kent and Surrey. 

We had not received responses from forces for Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Essex at the time of publication. However, we could not find any information about a new 72mph limit or an “auto ticket generating system” on any of their social media channels or websites.

The national speed limit on motorways such as the M1 and M25 is 70mph for most vehicles. But some parts of the M1 and M25 are smart motorways, meaning they may have variable speed limits with certain stretches that are lower than 70mph. 

This is not the first time Full Fact has seen this exact claim, as well as another very similar one. 

Claims like this can cause alarm and confusion, and so it’s important to check information before sharing it online. Full Fact has written about other motoring claims, such as whether it’s legal to drive in flip flops or to turn your number plate upside down to avoid ULEZ charges

Image courtesy of David Dixon

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