Essex County Council insists there is nothing wrong with signage in Duke Street despite the number of fines issued to motorists remaining the same.

The council has repeated its mantra that the signage warning motorists not to drive under the Duke Street railway bridge in Chelmsford is “legal, appropriate and therefore adequate” despite the average number of people been caught out barely changing in two years.

Recent figures have revealed that from August 2017 to the end of April 2019, 63,042 penalty charge notices were issued to motorists who had illegally driven through the bus gate, marked by what the council describes as legal and appropriate signage on the Duke Street bridge.

However figures from preceding periods have shown that number has remained relatively stable.

Between August 2017 and December 3, 2018, 48,864 tickets were issued over about 16 months, with an average of about 3,000 a month.

This means that 14,178 were issued in the five months between the beginning of December and end of April, with an average of 2,835 PCNs issued monthly.

The 12 months between December 2017 and December 2018, with 32,603 PCNs, saw an average of 2,716 tickets per month.

Enforcement cameras were installed in 2017, but it had been illegal to drive through the gate since 2011.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Before turning on enforcement cameras in 2017, we increased signage at all junctions leading to the bus gate, sent more than 3,000 warning notices and painted the words “BUS GATE” in five-foot high letters on the road at both entrances to help make drivers aware of the restrictions.

“The numbers of PCNs issued for illegal use of the bus gate reduced dramatically when Essex County Council carried out a communication campaign letting people know the camera was going to be switched on and they also dropped when the camera was switched on.”