Of almost a million non-compliance penalties issued since the zone’s introduction, more than 330,000 have never been settled. One-third of all Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) fines issued in London are left unpaid, according to a freedom of information (FOI) response from Transport For London (TfL).
Some 982,145 non-compliance penalties have been issued since the zone was introduced in the capital in April 2019, but 336,637 of these remain unpaid, according to data received through a FOI request from former Greater London Council councillor Richard Town.
Drivers can be fined if they own a non-compliant vehicle but do not pay the daily charge of £12.50 within 24 hours. Fines are raised to £15 after 72 hours, followed by a £130 PCN, which is reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days.
London’s ULEZ will extend to the north and south circular roads on 25 October this year, with the addition of 400 cameras at an equipment cost of £130 million, a sum that’s prompted some to argue the expansion should be halted in favour of other air-cleaning methods.
“The figures show there’s already widespread disregard for TfL’s enforcement,” said Town. “The scheme’s expansion must be halted.
“The excellent work that the original inner-London schemes have already achieved in cleaning up London’s air risk being lost as more and more of London’s motorists are forced to find more and more ingenious ways of avoiding paying TfL’s fines.
“The mayor must recognise that previous inner-London schemes have brought clean-air results. A further expansion into London’s leafy clean-air suburbs won’t.”
Drivers can contest a PCN if they believe it has been issued erroneously, although few charges are cancelled this way, with only four fines binned due to vehicles falling into an ‘exempt’ category due to their historic status. It is currently up to drivers to pre-register their vehicles for exemption prior to entering the zone.
“The recipient of a PCN has the legal right to challenge the PCN if they believe it has been issued incorrectly. Where applicable, we may ask for further evidence to support the challenge,” said Sara Thomas of the FOI case management team at TfL.
“To date, we have cancelled 4 PCNs under the category ‘Exempt – Historic Vehicle’. The PCNs were cancelled because the recipients in each case were able to satisfy us that their vehicles met the criteria for this exemption.”
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