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Ultra Low Emission Zone PCN (which came as a complete surprise)
gtahhh
post Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 00:26
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Hello!

I got a PCN for the ULEZ on bank holiday Monday after having the presence of mind to check that the congestion charging wasn't in force! I was aware that there are emission rules but have never really thought they applied to my car. I'm OK in low emission zones but not ultra low (I've checked online). I imagine that this one is a 'fair cop' as I was completely oblivious (a) to any need to pay attention to these rules, and (b) any signs or other warnings as I was driving into the zone. Ignorance being no excuse, of course.

However, is there any hope of avoiding the £80 fine?

Thanks
-g



PS: given there is ANPR everywhere, why not simply allow road users to be able to register for any fees and tolls occurred nationwide to be billed after the event, thereby removing the need to fine those who've signed up? Could it be that they make more money this way? I bet there's a real spike in PCNs in the ULEZ on bank holidays.

This post has been edited by gtahhh: Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 00:27
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post Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 00:26
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Earl Purple
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 09:11
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I rarely take my car into the centre of London but did check just in case. I do more regularly take it inside the North Circular Road. I wonder if the various industrial and shopping estates based on the inner side of the North Circular Road will be exempted.

I do regularly bring my Vespa into the CC zone. There were some protests about the fact that some motorcycles are included in the ULEZ restriction. I have noticed how much easier it is to find a space to park now compared to last year.

Anyway, a lot of this discussion should be in Flame Pit.

With regards the OP:

1. Is it clear he entered a zone that was in force? Maybe, maybe not.
2. What to do having entered it? Not clear. It isn't a "must not enter" it is a situation of "if you enter, you may or may not need to pay a charge". I can say that whilst it may have been reasonably clear that you were entering a zone, it was not that clear whether it applied to you and what the implication would be.

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cp8759
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 09:21
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QUOTE (Earl Purple @ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 10:11) *
2. What to do having entered it? Not clear. It isn't a "must not enter" it is a situation of "if you enter, you may or may not need to pay a charge". I can say that whilst it may have been reasonably clear that you were entering a zone, it was not that clear whether it applied to you and what the implication would be.

It might seem like a nuance but I would say that the sign not only fails to spell out what the implications would be, it also fails to suggest that there might be any implications at all.

I remember from when I first started driving that, as you approach London, there are CC warning signs for 10+ miles outside of London, and there are big warning signs directing you to lay-bys where further information is available. I've never actually stopped at one of these but at the time it occurred to me that they had made a fair effort to bring the CC to the attention of motorists, especially as the signs in said lay-bys presumably tell you about the charge amount, how to pay, the hours and days of operation and so on. It's not clear they've bothered doing anything of the sort with the ULEZ and TFL's information campaign appears to be wholly London-centric, so anyone driving into town from the counties will have no clue.

This post has been edited by cp8759: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 09:21


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 10:29
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 10:21) *
QUOTE (Earl Purple @ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 10:11) *
2. What to do having entered it? Not clear. It isn't a "must not enter" it is a situation of "if you enter, you may or may not need to pay a charge". I can say that whilst it may have been reasonably clear that you were entering a zone, it was not that clear whether it applied to you and what the implication would be.

It might seem like a nuance but I would say that the sign not only fails to spell out what the implications would be, it also fails to suggest that there might be any implications at all.

I remember from when I first started driving that, as you approach London, there are CC warning signs for 10+ miles outside of London, and there are big warning signs directing you to lay-bys where further information is available. I've never actually stopped at one of these but at the time it occurred to me that they had made a fair effort to bring the CC to the attention of motorists, especially as the signs in said lay-bys presumably tell you about the charge amount, how to pay, the hours and days of operation and so on. It's not clear they've bothered doing anything of the sort with the ULEZ and TFL's information campaign appears to be wholly London-centric, so anyone driving into town from the counties will have no clue.


Even dart charge, which cant be said to be the clearest has signs that say pay by midnight the next day,


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HarbourLights
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 20:41
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Hi all!

I hope I'm not breaking etiquette by joining the end of the OP's thread, but I am essentially in exactly the same situation, so I'm following this with interest.

Key question to start with - if I make representations, do I lose the option of getting away with paying "only" £80, or does that reduced option go away (as with some council parking fines)?

As far as I was aware, the ULEZ was not yet active (I thought it was to begin in 2021, in the area to be bound by the north and south circulars), and the first I knew of the need to pay a charge was when the £80 (or more) fine arrived on my doormat this morning. I am an auto-pay subscriber to the Dart Charge, and wouldn't try to dodge the charge for one moment - this was an honest mistake.

As I see it, there are several salient points:
1) That the CC and ULEZ operate over essentially the same area, but at different times, is confusing in itself...even if it's the one detail which actually is on the signs.
2) That I was unaware that the LEZ (which I'm fairly well familiar with) and ULEZ were two different things until I looked it up a few minutes ago. As far as I was concerned, any signs I might have noticed (and I'm not sure I did, re: earlier posts!) related to HGVs only. If there are to be two zones, they really need to be more clearly distinguishable than that!
3) That as a visitor from the frozen north, London is a hostile driving environment and I was primarily focused on remaining in the correct lane and avoiding kamikaze individuals on two wheels, both powered and unpowered (mostly courier bikes, I might add). Yes, I know that is probably not a reasonable defence, but it's true...
4) Most significantly (and probably the only actually actionable point) - that the signage is beyond inadequate, for several reasons (which have largely been covered already), but primarily in my eyes:
4a) That no reference is made to payment being necessary, anywhere on the signs (unlike at Dartford)
4b) No instruction is issued on the signs about what the ULEZ is, or what to do about it

I don't like these 'retro payment' systems, but if we have to have them, the Dart Charge is a good example of how to do it (relatively) well - it's clearly and repeatedly signed, explicit in detail, and tells you exactly what you need to do. The ULEZ does not.

I'm happy to play by the rules, whatever they are...but I need fair chance of knowing what they are, and a pair of small, uninformative signs which are easily missed in a very visually busy urban environment do not cut the mustard, IMO.

I appreciate that nothing is certain, but would the balance of opinion be:
a) That I stand a fighting chance if I appeal, and...
b) That I won't be risking putting myself in a poorer position (mainly re: the amount I would potentially have to pay) if I contest the charge?

Many thanks in advance!

(EDIT: Sorry - just noticed in the rules that threadjacks are specifically disallowed...but I hope I can get away with it on the basis that my question about an appeal potentially nullifying the £80 "reduced" rate could be of relevance to the OP, and that the rest of it probably doesn't need any comment, as I was largely just agreeing with the sentiments expressed previously!)

This post has been edited by HarbourLights: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 20:41
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gtahhh
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 22:35
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Hello all, here's the text of my representations, which must be submitted by midnight on the 18th.

Max. 5000 chars; I have used 3700.

I can use either of these as a basis for my representation. I think that it may technically be the first one as the juction signage isn't compliant but perhaps the second is a safer choice?

  • The penalty charge exceeds the amount payable in the circumstances of the case, e.g. I have been requested to pay a penalty charge amount above that detailed in the regulations
  • Any mitigating circumstances you wish to raise


==========
Dear Sir/Madam

On the date of the alleged contravention I entered the ULEZ on Seymour Street. The signage at the boundary is not compliant with Road Traffic Regulations GT50/139/0171 issued by the Secretary of State covering the placement of signs to mark the boundary of the ULEZ.

Paragraph 4 (1) of this document says:

Without prejudice to any regulations made under paragraph 22 (1) (e) of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984; the authorised signs A and B shall be placed on or near any road in Greater London in sufficient numbers and in appropriate positions to indicate to all traffic entering the London Ultra Low Emission Zone the nature of the provisions of a Scheme.

The sign on the right side of the boundary, along with the Congestion Zone sign, is hidden behind the lamp unit and pole of a traffic light and both signs are almost completely out of view to the oncoming motorist.

The ULEZ sign on the left of this boundary is rotated 45 degrees or more away from the line of sight of the oncoming motorist, which both significantly reduces the surface area that can be seen, making the sign must less noticeable, and appears to suggests the sign intended for motorists coming from a different direction and for a boundary lying in a different orientation.

The hidden and rotated signs at this boundary mean that the requirements of para. 4 (1), namely that signs are in “...appropriate positions to indicate to all traffic…” has not been met.

Exhibit A - a photograph of the boundary that shows clearly the right hand signs are hidden to the motorist driving west to east on Seymour St.

Exhibit B - an annotated close up of the view in exhibit A

Exhibit C - a photograph of the left hand ULEZ sign from the north on Edgware road to show the extent to which this sign is rotated away from motorists approaching on Seymour St. Despite this sign being visible to motorists driving north to south on Edgware Rd. there is no ULEZ boundary straight ahead and so the sign should be ignored.

Additionally, and as importantly, neither signs of design A nor B as specified in GT50/139/0171 indicate to all traffic entering the London Ultra Low Emission Zone “the nature of the provisions of a Scheme”.

In fact nothing of the nature and provision of the scheme is mentioned on the signs. These signs say:

"ULEZ - Ultra low emission zone - at all times"

The text used on the sign does not indicate in any way there is a charge in some cases as there is no reference to 'Charge', 'Fee', or 'Payment' etc. This is in contrast to signs for the Congestion Charging Zone, or the Dartford crossing etc. where the requirement for the motorist to pay is clear.

The muted colour scheme and opaque wording that has been chosen is wholly inadequate.

Given the atypical colour scheme, it is arguable whether it is clear that this sign relates to road traffic and could be misunderstood to relate to some other form of emissions.

Finally, since 5th July 2018, I have been living in Australia, coming back to the UK for periods. If there has been a campaign where the details and meaning of “ULEZ” and “Ultra low emission zone” have been publicised to motorists in the UK, I have missed this.

Both the poor positioning and obscured signage at the particular junction and the inadequate wording used on the signs cause this ULEZ boundary to fall short of the standard set out in the Secretary of State’s directions. Therefore this penalty charge must be cancelled.

Please note that I will be in Australia from 28th June until the end of August and so will not be able to receive communication by post. You will be able to contact me by email: blah@blah.com.

Yours faithfully
First Last
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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 17 Jun 2019 - 22:56
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Is the car registered in your name? the TfL can only respond to the address held by DVLA so you giving them an e mail address won't help. You will need someone to open your mail from them scan it and email to you



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gtahhh
post Tue, 18 Jun 2019 - 12:15
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Are there any provisions for people who are out of the country? I assume not.

Any other comments on my text?
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cp8759
post Tue, 18 Jun 2019 - 14:35
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I think you need to rely on regulation 18 of the The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/24...ulation/18/made

My emphasis:

18.—(1) Where an order relating to any road has been made, the order making authority shall take such steps as are necessary to secure—

(a) before the order comes into force, the placing on or near the road of such traffic signs in such positions as the order making authority may consider requisite for securing that adequate information as to the effect of the order is made available to persons using the road;


I would focus on the fact that even if the signs comply with the SoS's authorisation, they do not convey adequate information about the effect of the order.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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gtahhh
post Tue, 18 Jun 2019 - 17:40
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 18 Jun 2019 - 15:35) *
regulation 18 of the [i]The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders

Is that applicable to TFL?

How should I weave that into my text?

Can I refer to this in addition to my the regulations that I cite?
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cp8759
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 08:45
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Yes LATOR is applicable to TFL, and it is the main regulation you should cite. The others are a nice to have but they're not your central point. Your central point must be that the signs do not convey anything about having to pay. Have a go and if need be I'll tidy up your draft for you.

This post has been edited by cp8759: Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 08:45


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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gtahhh
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 13:04
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I needed to submit by midnight last night, although I think that was only to stop the process with the £80 discounted fee option. I cited both LATOR and the other order, quoting the relevant text in both cases, then put my text that said that the signs didn't indicate the effect of the order or the nature of the provisions of a scheme under these citations. And that there was no mention of a charge etc.

These points plus the point that the signs are hidden on the right, and rotated of the left, I gave three reasons why the signs at the boundary I entered the zone by were not compliant.

Hopefully this is enough but to concede the signs aren't compliant will be a huge admission of failure.
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HarbourLights
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 15:48
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Quick update: I called the TFL ULEZ line, and after getting the “PAPERS!” treatment (which I politely declined, since it was a generic question), and they confirmed that making representations stops the clock on the £80/160 transition (whereas contesting a parking fine, for example, will typically remove the option of paying the reduced rate - highly unfair, IMO). In other words, there is no penalty for making representations. The PCN is ambiguous on this point.

I hope this will be useful to future readers, even though it looks like the OP was aware of this, judging by the last post!
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cp8759
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 18:38
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When TFL reject, post up your representations as you sent them and their rejection letter.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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HarbourLights
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 18:43
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Not at all a criticism, but you seem quite confident that they will reject (presumably referencing the OP, who appears to have done more research than me!). Is that to be expected (in the interests of them not rolling over at the outset) and the intention would be to proceed to an independent appeal, or do you think this is a fruitless exercise from the start? Genuine question!
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cp8759
post Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 20:46
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QUOTE (HarbourLights @ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 19:43) *
Not at all a criticism, but you seem quite confident that they will reject (presumably referencing the OP, who appears to have done more research than me!). Is that to be expected (in the interests of them not rolling over at the outset) and the intention would be to proceed to an independent appeal, or do you think this is a fruitless exercise from the start? Genuine question!

TFL don't normally cancel at the representations stage unless they've made a clear-cut error in procedure or if the contravention is plainly not made out (CEO error etc...), if their case is weak but not hopeless they're more likely to reject and then if an appeal is filed, they might not contest.

Unless we give advice along the lines of "don't risk the discount", the object is always to go to adjudication unless the enforcement authority gives up first.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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HarbourLights
post Thu, 20 Jun 2019 - 07:14
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That’s great - thank you for your advice!
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tasty_snacks
post Thu, 11 Jul 2019 - 20:40
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Any update on this? Intrigued to hear the outcome of the signage being insufficient in relation to the nature of the provisions of a Scheme (the third point in the OPs appeal).
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Incandescent
post Thu, 11 Jul 2019 - 21:46
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QUOTE (tasty_snacks @ Thu, 11 Jul 2019 - 21:40) *
Any update on this? Intrigued to hear the outcome of the signage being insufficient in relation to the nature of the provisions of a Scheme (the third point in the OPs appeal).

Not so far, and it will probably be some time, as this issue will inevitably end up at London Tribunals unless the OP coughs-up and doesn't appeal. The full penalty is an absolutely outrageous £160 which will put most people off from appealing, and TfL know this, so will bat everything away.

This post has been edited by Incandescent: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 - 21:47
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HarbourLights
post Thu, 11 Jul 2019 - 23:09
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I'm not the OP...but FWIW my initial appeal has been rejected (as of two days ago), and my next step is to take it to tribunal. I lose the option of "only" paying £80 if I do that (as Incandescent suggests). I am minded to do so, unless the consensus here is that it's a waste of time (and a further £80!). I imagine I will be encouraged to appeal, though...! Interestingly they are offering further discouragement by mentioning that costs might be awarded against me. They appear to have attempted to imply that my statement was contradictory (which it certainly wasn't!), which has irked me.

I'm planning to fill the form in and send it off on Monday/Tuesday.

Thanks all!
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spaceman
post Fri, 12 Jul 2019 - 12:51
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QUOTE (HarbourLights @ Fri, 12 Jul 2019 - 00:09) *
IInterestingly they are offering further discouragement by mentioning that costs might be awarded against me. They appear to have attempted to imply that my statement was contradictory (which it certainly wasn't!), which has irked me.


Paragraph 6(1)(b) of 'The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007' requires them to point this out to you in the NoR.

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