Nearly 19,000 ultra low emission zone fines overturned on appeal

Ross Lydall
A file image of an Ultra Low Emission Zone sign in Tower Hill, central London: Yui Mok/PA

Thousands of penalty tickets issued to motorists for apparently failing to pay the Mayor’s central London pollution levy have been overturned on appeal, it can be revealed.

A total of 18,927 appeals, challenging the £160 fines issued for the ultra low emission zone (Ulez), have been allowed by Transport for London by the end of September.

However, the biggest number have been for rental vehicles — meaning the ticket is then re-issued to the hirer or hire company, depending on their contracted agreement.

The second most common reason for challenging a fine is when the motorist claims the vehicle meets the Ulez emission rules. This can be because the engine or exhaust has been modified without TfL’s knowledge.

Cars in London (Jeremy Selwyn)

Figures obtained by moneysavingexpert.com using the Freedom of Information Act show that of the 46,438 appeals submitted to TfL by the end of September, 18,927 were accepted and 17,955 rejected, with the remaining ongoing.

The overall rate means that about one in five penalty tickets are being challenged — with the appeal being allowed in just over half the cases.

This is a similar success rate to conventional penalty notices issued for parking, bus lane and “yellow box” offences.

The Ulez had raised about £41 million by the end of August in levies and fines. A total of 306,925 tickets had been issued by the end of September.

Cars and vans with “dirty” engines pay £12.50 and HGVs £100. The scheme, introduced by Mayor Sadiq Khan, has cut nitrogen dioxide levels by 31 per cent and reduced the number of vehicles breaching the exhaust rules by 37.8 per cent.

Steve Nowottny, of moneysavingexpert.com, said: “These figures will be encouraging for anyone who thinks they’ve been fined unfairly. You can and should fight your case — thousands of fines have been successfully overturned.”

However, not being aware of how the Ulez operates will not result in a penalty being withdrawn. This is the most common reason for an appeal to be rejected.

Mr Nowottny said: “Make sure when appealing that you’re as specific as possible about why you’ve been wrongly fined, and ensure you include all relevant evidence to give yourself the best possible chance.”

Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL’s general manager for road user charging, said: “For customers that are subject to a penalty and believe it has been issued in error, we have an easy process that enables them to raise any concerns they have about the fine”

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