Huge number of ULEZ drivers face warrants after dodging charge

A general view of an ULEZ sign in Northwood in north London, Britain 01 September 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon
A general view of an ULEZ sign in Northwood in north London, Britain 01 September 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Over a million motorists are reportedly evading ULEZ fines, with data indicating that upwards of 1.2 million drivers have neglected to settle their dues six months to a year after being hit with a motoring penalty for driving in London. This marks an increase from the previous year's figure of 700,000.

Transport for London (TfL) disclosed these staggering numbers in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, revealing that out of two million Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued, a whopping 1,204,336 remained unpaid after half a year.

The issue was highlighted several months ago when Tony Porter, the former surveillance camera commissioner, authored a report in June which discovered that around six percent of vehicles were using some kind of "ANPR-defeating material". Porter commented on the matter, saying, "It's not rocket science."

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In a statement, TfL explained the situation: "The ULEZ was launched on 8 April 2019 and covered the same area as the Congestion Charging zone. On 25 October 2021, the zone was extended up to but not including the North and South circular which was an 18 times increase in the size of the zone. This is why the PCNs volumes are significantly higher for 21/22 and 22/23."

They added: "We take all reasonable steps to obtain payment of a PCN including issuing a minimum of three notices and, where payment is still not made, issuing a warrant to our contracted Enforcement Agents," reports Birmingham Live. Mr Porter elaborated: "A lot of people will think they don't want to embark on criminal damage of Ulez cameras but will be tempted to doctor their number plate to save £12 a day. The lack of regulation of the market for plates means we are exposing people to criminality."

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In his letter to the government, he highlighted: "There is a paucity of any credible or effective controls which govern the production, manufacture and supply of materials to construct number plates, nor are there any meaningful security provisions for the number plates themselves."

He further pointed out: "The current regime in this country renders the unlawful manufacture and use of number plates and the fitting of number plates which are unreadable to the ANPR system, a relatively easy undertaking with little risk of such an act being detected by the relevant authorities."

He concluded with a warning: "This problem is growing, as is borne out by current police experience."

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