ULEZ shock: Many don’t know they owe TfL charge as £70million is generated in fines

Data from Transport for London (TfL) has revealed £48.9million was generated in daily ULEZ charges over the first eight months of the scheme. A further £21.5million has since been paid by drivers through penalty charge notices after failing to pay the daily fee.

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Analysis has shown around 3.4million charges were issued to motorists which equates to an average of three charges per vehicle.

Estimates show TfL will generate a total of £213million on charges and fines by the end of the first year.

The final estimated bill is higher than the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s initial predictions made in November 2018.

The Mayor claimed ULEZ would generate revenue of around £174million in its first year without taking into account running costs.

However, analysis has shown road users can be caught out with ULEZ related penalty charges even if they had no intention of using the roads.

This is because there is often no way for drivers to confirm whether they have entered the zone meaning many never pay the daily charge.

Drivers can then be hit with a massive £160 fine without being given any warning they owe a fine.

The penalty charge is 12 times higher than the cost of a single journey through the ULEZ which stands at £12.50 per day.  

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One driver based in South London was said to have racked up 165 ULEZ penalties over the past eight months.

Based on the current charges the driver would owe TfL a total of £13,200 showing how simple it is for costs to slowly add up.

James Blackham, co-founder of insurance company By Miles, said: “While the ULEZ zone is a positive step towards tackling climate change and improving air quality in the city, it’s clear that it is causing considerable confusion among drivers in the capital.

“Many are unaware where zones start and finish, and the tight timeframe you’re given to pay the fee if you accidentally pass through it is costing unsuspecting motorists millions.”

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Motorists can appeal a ULEZ fine through TfL if they believe a charge has been unfairly issued, although this is no guarantee a fine will be scrapped.

However, data from MoneySavingExpert last November revealed under half of ULEZ appeals are accepted by TfL.

An FOI request found that 46,438 appeals were submitted by the end of September with another 19,000 accepted and just under 18,000 rejected.

Motorists can avoid fines by using simple technology which detects whether your car has entered the zone.

Car insurance from By Miles and car technology firm Waze are two providers where road users can check whether their vehicle has entered the charging area.

James Blackham added: “Penalty charges won’t educate drivers to make the air in the capital cleaner, they’ll just annoy them and make them poorer – we’re trying to raise awareness and make the process clearer, fairer and more effective.”

The Ultra-Low Emissions zone operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week across much of Central London. ULEZ zones run from Marylebone in the West as far as Vauxhall the south and Whitechapel in the East.

Most vehicles will need to pay the charge with only fully-electric vehicles which produce zero-emissions exempt from the bill.

Transport for London has been contacted by Express.co.uk for comment. 

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