Man Furious After Being Fined £540 For Driving Through Clean Air Zone
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Harvey drove through Birmingham for three days in the time he didn’t have a card, which meant that he wasn't able to pay for the charges.
He claims that he has explained what the issue was, but has still been handed a number of fixed penalty notices for those days.
The Lichfield resident claims that he’d been contacting Birmingham City Council for four months without getting anywhere, and had even reached out to his local MP Michael Fabricant – a man who seems to have strong opinions on some fixed penalty notices – to ask for help.
However, the businessman believes that the local council have been ignoring him on purpose, claiming that ‘they don’t have an answerphone’ and ‘it [the phone number] just goes straight through to a dead line’.
He says that when he eventually managed to contact the council, they told him they ‘had not even read the complaint’.
That’s when he decided to get his MP involved.
Still, he’s now been told on several occasions that nothing can be done and that he must go through debt collectors rather than the council, because there are no exceptions to Clean Air Zone payment rules.
The CAZ in Birmingham was brought into effect on 1 June 2021, with charges starting on 14 June.
The aim is to reduce pollution by levying a daily charge against vehicles entering the zone if they are not compliant with emission standards or have not obtained an exemption.
On the website, it reads: "Please note you will not receive a notification or alert advising you that you have entered the zone and payment is due; you as a driver are fully responsible for understanding and managing all payments.
“If you do not pay during that allocated 13-day payment window you will be subject to a Penalty Charge Notice of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days."
Now, because it’s been dragging on for so long, Clive owes nearly £600.
He says he last got in touch with the council before Easter, only to be told there’s nothing that can be done about it.
He said: "When you appeal you lose the discount.
“Then it goes up to £180 and if they reject your appeal you have to pay.
“My next point of call was to raise a Freedom of Information request asking for financial figures.
“It's my honest opinion this is set up to fail. I feel like the victim of a con."
He added: "If I'm failing with this system then who else is?
“I was the victim of crime. It was a website handing over engineering documents.
“I quickly realised 'this doesn't seem right' and did some more research and found out it was a scam."
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "For someone who receives a penalty charge notice they can pay the charge or, if they believe it has been issued incorrectly, they can submit a challenge.
“If someone chooses to challenge a penalty charge notice they have up to 28 days from the date of issue and a challenge can be submitted online or by post.
“To make the process as clear and as transparent as possible the penalty charge notice includes the grounds for a challenge, in line with the relevant legislation, and the Council has published clear guidelines on how it considers all representations.
“If someone is unhappy with the decision of the Council to reject a challenge there is another right to appeal or right to challenge a penalty charge notice at later stages of the process.”