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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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Incandescent
post Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 09:03
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This is the latest money-making wheeze in London, although I'd call it a scam. On payment of a toll, (£12.50 I believe), you can enter the zone for a day. What I would do is challenge the PCN on the basis that you were totally unaware of it, not being a London resident, and do not remember passing any signs to indicate the zone, so request the PCN be cancelled. Also say that you are willing to pay the zone fee if the PCN is cancelled. If they have any decency at all, (a rare commodity in those enforcement bodies in London - councils and TfL), they will cancel the PCN and invite you to pay the fee. This procedure is followed by DART for motorists making the crossing for the first time who either are not aware they have to pay, or are tardy in paying. Of course once you have gone through the procedure, you are considered "aware" and any further instances they will insist on payment of the PCN.

This post has been edited by Incandescent: Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 09:05
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cp8759
post Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 21:24
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I wonder if there's anything that can actually be argued about the signage.

TFL's website at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-...ulez-road-signs shows what the signs look like. To me, a sign that says "congestion charging" is a fair indication that some sort of charge needs to be paid. Ultra low emissions zone does not necessarily imply that anyone needs to pay anything, you might reasonably think that if your vehicle meets reasonable emissions standards you have nothing to worry about.

As it is the ULEZ signs look like information signs, IMO the signage should give some indication that non-compliant vehicles need to pay to enter the zone, this would at least prompt road users to look into it a bit more.


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PASTMYBEST
post Fri, 7 Jun 2019 - 08:45
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 22:24) *
I wonder if there's anything that can actually be argued about the signage.

TFL's website at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-...ulez-road-signs shows what the signs look like. To me, a sign that says "congestion charging" is a fair indication that some sort of charge needs to be paid. Ultra low emissions zone does not necessarily imply that anyone needs to pay anything, you might reasonably think that if your vehicle meets reasonable emissions standards you have nothing to worry about.

As it is the ULEZ signs look like information signs, IMO the signage should give some indication that non-compliant vehicles need to pay to enter the zone, this would at least prompt road users to look into it a bit more.



good point


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Incandescent
post Fri, 7 Jun 2019 - 09:22
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QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Fri, 7 Jun 2019 - 09:45) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 6 Jun 2019 - 22:24) *
I wonder if there's anything that can actually be argued about the signage.

TFL's website at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-...ulez-road-signs shows what the signs look like. To me, a sign that says "congestion charging" is a fair indication that some sort of charge needs to be paid. Ultra low emissions zone does not necessarily imply that anyone needs to pay anything, you might reasonably think that if your vehicle meets reasonable emissions standards you have nothing to worry about.

As it is the ULEZ signs look like information signs, IMO the signage should give some indication that non-compliant vehicles need to pay to enter the zone, this would at least prompt road users to look into it a bit more.



good point

+1
Indeed the advance sign on their webpage where it indicates both ULEZ and CC zones, the word "charging" only appears on the CC sign, not the ULEZ sign. I would argue very strongly that this is misleading, especially as most people driving in from outside London wouldn't have a clue what the sign means and would have no reason whatever to go onto TfLs website. Of course it would only be tested at London Tribunals, as TfL want the money.
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Twistededge
post Fri, 7 Jun 2019 - 23:43
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I'm on the edge of the ULEZ and, considering my car is a 2006 diesel, think this is nothing but an attack on the working classes -- because, if I could afford a more expensive car then I'd have one.

It's also unfair on anyone with newer classics (1980s and 90s) and anyone with a speciality vehicle like a campervan.

I'm not sure how they will enforce it when it extends to the North and South Circular in 2021 as that would mean a camera on every corner!

I cannot wait to get rid of Sadiq Khan! mad.gif
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Incandescent
post Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 08:15
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QUOTE (Twistededge @ Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 00:43) *
I'm on the edge of the ULEZ and, considering my car is a 2006 diesel, think this is nothing but an attack on the working classes -- because, if I could afford a more expensive car then I'd have one.

It's also unfair on anyone with newer classics (1980s and 90s) and anyone with a speciality vehicle like a campervan.

I'm not sure how they will enforce it when it extends to the North and South Circular in 2021 as that would mean a camera on every corner!

I cannot wait to get rid of Sadiq Khan! mad.gif

so in two years time, if you live inside the North and South Circular, you'll have to pay £12.50 every-time you move your car off the driveway. If this isn't a scam, what is ? They'll have mobile ANPR cameras wandering about to pick you up and whallop you. It really is Orwellian
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stamfordman
post Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 10:35
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QUOTE (Twistededge @ Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 00:43) *
this is nothing but an attack on the working classes


But it is poorer people, a majority of whom don't own cars, who suffer most from road pollution as they live closer to main roads used mainly by people who don't live there.
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cp8759
post Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 17:46
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QUOTE (Twistededge @ Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 00:43) *
I'm on the edge of the ULEZ and, considering my car is a 2006 diesel, think this is nothing but an attack on the working classes -- because, if I could afford a more expensive car then I'd have one.

It's also unfair on anyone with newer classics (1980s and 90s) and anyone with a speciality vehicle like a campervan.

I'm not sure how they will enforce it when it extends to the North and South Circular in 2021 as that would mean a camera on every corner!

I cannot wait to get rid of Sadiq Khan! mad.gif

We must not lose sight of the fact that attacking the merits of the scheme is pointless as far as the OP's case goes.

IMO the focus of any challenge must be centred on the fact that the signs do not adequately convey that there is a charge to be paid. Any discussions about the merits of the scheme should be reserved for the flame pit.

Until we hear back from the OP (who hasn't logged on since he started the thread on 6 June), not much point in adding anything further.

This post has been edited by cp8759: Sat, 8 Jun 2019 - 17:48


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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gtahhh
post Sun, 9 Jun 2019 - 22:48
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Thank you all for your help and advice. I'm sorry for the radio silence - I was away at a work event.

I do live in London and was vaguely aware of low emissions zones but wasn't aware of the low and ultra-low distinction and didn't think this applied to my car. It was only after the event that I checked online and found out that I'm fine for "low" but can't go into "ultra low".

I think the fact that the ultra low zone operates over the same area as the congestion charge means that one tends not to distinguish between the two charges. I was aware of the congestion charge and checked that wasn't operating on a bank holiday. Thinking that no emissions zones applied to me I didn't think to check.

Although I'm not sure, I think the this zone may have initially targeted the more polluting diesels. I seem to remember looking it up when the emission zone was first mooted for central London and working out that it didn't apply to my car. It was the change to the tighter regulations that passed me by.

I intend to check the signs. The ones shown on Google Street View only show Congestion Charge but of course, the photo could be out of date


Another thought. The PCN says George Street. The picture caption on the PCN says "Forset Street / George Street". I have retraced my steps and don't think I went on either of these streets. I have a clear recollection of the route I tooks as there was a bit of road rage when an Uber stopped in the middle of the road to let the passengers out and took ages and I know exactly where this was. Then I hit a closed road in Manchester Sq. That means I'm pretty sure my loop round to drop someone off at Selfridges didn't go on the roads mentioned in the PCN. I can work this out when I go to look at the signs. I see the 20 mph marking on the road in the photo is pretty distinctive, so I should be able to work out if my hunch is right.
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cp8759
post Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 12:36
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If you ask TFL for the video, they will send you a DVD in the post and put the penalty on hold while you wait, seeing the video will clear up any issues as to the location.

What you've put in post 10 is a spot-on example of why, IMO, the signs are inadequate. While it's great that TFL have information campaigns, posters on the tube and all of that stuff, at the end of the day their duty, as the highway authority, is to provide adequate physical signage on the actual road. IMO they have failed in this regard and it follows that the alleged contravention did not occur.

Obviously this is untested at the tribunal but personally I would take it all the way.


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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 Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 22:14
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 13:36) *
If you ask TFL for the video, they will send you a DVD in the post and put the penalty on hold while you wait, seeing the video will clear up any issues as to the location.


I can see that I can make representations online.What is the correct way to request the DVD ensuring the penalty is put on hold? Hopefully this will preserve my option of the discount.

Thanks
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Neil B
post Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 22:39
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QUOTE (gtahhh @ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 23:14) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 13:36) *
If you ask TFL for the video, they will send you a DVD in the post and put the penalty on hold while you wait, seeing the video will clear up any issues as to the location.


I can see that I can make representations online.What is the correct way to request the DVD ensuring the penalty is put on hold? Hopefully this will preserve my option of the discount.

Thanks

Normally by telephone but make sure they give you a 'hold' reference number, take name, note time of call.

We've seen them forget themselves in the past but they seem to have improved on that score over the last year or so.

If you receive a letter saying 'here's the vid', with no vid, get on to them promptly and report it here.


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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 11 May 2018 - 12:30) *
Neil is good at working backwards.

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gtahhh
post Fri, 14 Jun 2019 - 00:22
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TL;DR: The signs are hidden/missing at the entrance to the ULEZ!

QUOTE (Neil B @ Mon, 10 Jun 2019 - 23:39) *
Normally by telephone but make sure they give you a 'hold' reference number, take name, note time of call.


Apparently there is no video, only stills, which can be seen on the web. There are 5 images. There are three called CONTEXTUAL_IMAGE, CONTEXTUAL_IMAGE_BEFORE and CONTEXTUAL_IMAGE_AFTER, which are essentially the same as the one on the PCN but with the car having moved ~1m between each shot. Then one of the front of the car (as per the PCN) and a close up of this image to show the number plate.

However, I think all of that may be irrelevant as I've found the reason why I was unaware of the ULEZ zone.

Here's the view of the entrance to the ULEZ and congestion charging zone, looking from west to east on Seymour Street at the junction with Edgware road (Gmap of location here; full sized images with zoom-in can be viewed here.):



Notice that there is no CCharge sign on the left and the left hand side ULEZ sign is rotated 45 degrees or more to face the traffic coming from the left on Edgware Road. I assume that this signage isn't legal for the CCharge as there isn't a terminal sign on the left. That may mean it isn't legal for the ULEZ as this zone mirrors the CCharge zone.

But I think the more significant issue is that the signs on the right can actually be totally hidden by the traffic lights just in front of these signs when you are sitting at the traffic light waiting to cross into the zone, making it very easy to miss entirely, particularly given the left hand sign is rotated away from you.



How is a motorist expected to see they are entering the zone‽

To give you an idea of just how rotated the ULEZ sign on the left hand side is, I walked up Edgware road, to the left/north to take a picture of the junction at 90 degrees to way I approached the entrance to the zone. Look at the extent to which the sign is pointing at traffic approaching the junction at a perpendicular direction. The sign is just next to the left-most green traffic light; I was sitting at the lights behind where the black cab can be seen on the very right edge of the shot:



I assume the sign is at an angle so it works for both directions but it seems unreasonable that one sign would be able to act as a clear terminal sign for traffic entering the zone from different directions 90 degrees apart. This seems to be common practice for CCharge signage and very likely to lead to confusion.

Full sized images can be viewed here.

Finally, there is the question of whether a sign that says "ULEZ - Ultra low emission zone - at all times" is sufficient to tell the motorist that charging applies and there is a fee to pay if they drive on.

How do you think I should proceed given this information? I need to make representation by COP on the 18th.

-g

This post has been edited by gtahhh: Fri, 14 Jun 2019 - 22:46
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gtahhh
post Sat, 15 Jun 2019 - 11:44
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Having had a dig around the road traffic regulations, I have found http://assets.dft.gov.uk/trafficauths/case-4754.pdf which defines the design of the signs and how they should be displayed.

Section 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.

It is clear that with one sign angled 45 degrees or more away from the approaching traffic and one sign hidden behind traffic lights that the signs at the entrance to the zone on Seymour Street do not constitute signage "in appropriate positions to indicate to all traffic entering the [ULEZ]".

Signs A and B, as you can see from the regulations in the link above simply say "ULEZ - Ultra low emission zone - at all times". It's hard to see how this text "indicates ... the nature of the provisions of a Scheme" insofar as there's a charge to pay.

This seems like a colossal failure of the design of the signs. Additionally, the design and colour scheme means the signs don't stand out and are reminiscent of less important signs. Iow, the only thing visible in the scene below that tells me that I'm going to get an £80/240 fine is a sideways view of a rather muddy green sign with no reference to 'Charge', 'Fee', 'Payment' or 'Toll' etc.

I guess TFL will argue that the one rotated sign on the left is sufficient!

Here's a close up of that boundary to show how poor the signage is:



-g
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cp8759
post Sat, 15 Jun 2019 - 11:53
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I think the more basic issue here is that the signs must adequately convey the effect of the underlying order. The signs simply do not convey that anyone is required to pay anything. Imagine if on the Dartford crossing the signs just said "Dartford crossing ahead", that would obviously be inadequate.

The same applies here, the ULEZ signs does not convey that there is any requirement to pay anything, so the signs are inadequate even if they are visible.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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gtahhh
post Sat, 15 Jun 2019 - 12:35
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That is true but seems a harder, or more ambitious, defence of my PCN than the fact that the signs are either hidden or rotated away.

In one case I'm challenging the entire regulations for the signage for this scheme. In the other I pointing out that signs at one junction are out of view behind some traffic lights. I can or course make the bigger point as part of my representations alongside the obscured signage at the junction in question. My main concern now is to have something solid to say for my representations before midnight on the 18th June.
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cp8759
post Sun, 16 Jun 2019 - 18:20
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You need to make both points, as you only need one to succeed you might as well throw everything at it. If you type up a draft and put it on here for us to review, we can tidy it up and add any necessary legal bits for you.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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stamfordman
post Sun, 16 Jun 2019 - 19:44
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I've just driven in and out of the zone - signage is poor in my view, just small ULEZ signs, one advance, and that's it. There's also a lot or roadworks where I entered (City Road/OldStreet) and a lot of various signage there to take in.

Bizarrely, our gas guzzling 2005 Volvo is exempt, or so the ULEZ checker says.
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gtahhh
post Sun, 16 Jun 2019 - 21:44
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Any thoughts on the best photos to include to illustrate the hidden/rotate signage issue? I would say the second picture from my Fri, 14 Jun 2019 - 01:22 post and the annotated one from my last post are sufficient. Do you agree?
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