The UK Department of Transport (DfT) has ruled that the network of mobile road cameras in London’s Westminster council do not meet the required resolution standards and must be turned off.

The announcement has come at an awkward time as London prepares to host the G20 summit. While the cameras are primarily used to for traffic enforcement they are also used to maintain law and order in the city.

The mobile road camera’s, which constitute a third of the Westminster’s £15m network are required under legislation to have a picture resolution of 720 x 576 but only have a picture quality of 704 x 576 pixels.

The DfT’s enforcement branch, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has therefore ruled that 60 of the cameras do not comply with the law.

The Guardian has reported that a letter from the council has been handed to the Transport minister Geoff Hoon, seeking authorisation to allow the network to continue operating.

“This would have a serious impact on our ability to manage our road network safely, as well as impeding our community protection efforts. We are seeking authorisation from DfT as a matter of urgency to enable Westminster to continue using its digital CCTV network” the letter states.

The cameras monitor the areas around the West End, Belgravia, Trafalgar Square, Knightsbridge, Oxford Street and London’s main bridges 24 hours a day. The information captured is also accessible to police and the intelligence services.

A further 160 permanent CCTV cameras run by the authority are unaffected and will continue to operate.

By Daniel Garrun.