Why is Birmingham City Council writing off thousands of Clean Air Zone fines ?

Clean Air Zone sign
Clean Air Zone sign Credit: PA

Are drivers in Birmingham getting away with fines issued for the Clean Air Zone?

Birmingham City Council has written off more than 45,000 fines issued to drivers since the launch of the city's controversial Clean Air Zone scheme.

The local authority has lost out on at least £2.7 million through fines it has not been able to collect.It's thought that council bosses under-estimated the number of drivers who would fail to understand the new rules, leaving teams overwhelmed by the huge number of fines that needed processing.

It costs £8 a day for cars which don't meet emissions standards to drive in the Clean Air Zone. Drivers who fail to pay are given fines of £120, cut to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Clean Air Zone sign in Birmingham Credit: BPM Media

The scheme launched in June 2021, and in the early period nearly 7,500 fines a month were already being written off.

Chiefs had warned earlier that it would be impossible to recover all the cash it was owed in penalties. The number of drivers being penalised has fallen since the launch date, but it remains at around 50,000 a month - catching out motorists in older, gas-guzzling motors around the city centre.

Will my Clean Air Zone fine stand - or be written off ?

Drivers issued with Clean Air Zone fines in more recent months could find they are still written off - if the council decides it won't be able to recover the cash.

Separately, more than 10,000 CAZ fines have been successfully appealed after being challenged by drivers who felt they had been unfairly punished.How many fines have been issued - and how much money has it generated ?

  • Around 400,000 more fines than expected were generated in the first eight months

  • The council predicted just 69,000 fines would be imposed - but the actual number around 470,000

  • It raises £20 million during that period in fines alone

Council bosses have insisted the scheme is doing its job by cutting emission levels around the city centre.

Clean Air Zone sign Credit: BPM Media

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "The purpose of the Clean Air Zone is to improve air quality in the city centre.

"Since its introduction it has helped reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles that enter the zone every day. This is helping to improve air quality."The majority of people who need to pay the daily fee do so in the 13-day payment window.

"We would encourage anyone driving into the city centre to check whether or not they need to pay the fee, or the alternatives to using their car, by visiting www.brumbreathes.co.uk."If someone believes they have been incorrectly issued with a Clean Air Zone penalty charge notice for not paying the correct daily fee they are able to challenge it through the statutory appeals process."