Hundreds of drivers are being hit with charges and fines in error while driving in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, car experts have warned.
Over the last three months, VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less team have been inundated with questions after many drivers have been issued fines in error and have been working hard to help clients challenge and overturn ULEZ charges that they should never have received.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone recently expanded to greater London, bordered by the M25 motorway. It allows emissions-based charges to be applied to owners of non-compliant road vehicles. The scheme was announced in 2015 and came into force in September 2020.
In June, around 4,000 ULEZ fines were issued per day. Experts at Plates4Less claim that many of those fines were unfair as Transport for London is not updating their vehicle database quickly enough from DVLA records, which correctly link number plates to the correct vehicle details.
If they updated their records every day, the experts say that they would know that these vehicles are ULEZ compliant but because they don’t do this the ANPR camera’s information is linked to their basic non-DVLA database.
This ‘basic’ database tells TfL the age of the vehicle from the age indicator on the number plate and if the vehicle is older than 2006 for petrol cars and 2015 for diesel cars, then they seem to automatically issue a charge.
This basic linking becomes an issue when vehicles carry an older personalised number plate than the vehicle, which makes it seem like an older vehicle to the cameras, meaning they are issued with a charge incorrectly.
To help motorists avoid finding themselves in this situation unfairly, the number plate and motoring experts from VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less have put together a quick guide. Their useful template can be used to challenge TfL or any other authority where the issue of a mistaken charge or fine is made.
Antony Clark, of Plates4Less, said “As a trusted supplier of private number plates, people often come to us with their questions, and we’re happy to help. We have found that Transport for London is not updating their vehicles database from DVLA records often enough”.
“We contacted TFL on behalf of our clients and were pleased to discover that there’s a super easy fix to this issue. As long as people send Transport for London a copy of their V5 Registration Certificate when they get a charge, TfL should be able to investigate and cancel the charges and any subsequent fine.”