Drivers to be 'warned not fined' during first weeks of expanded London ULEZ zone

  • Above TfL's Chief Customer & Strategy Officer Alex Williams

Drivers who fail to pay the ULEZ charge will be sent warning letters instead of fines for 'the first few weeks'.

Transport for London can use its “discretion” to issue warning letters instead of penalty charge notices.

"If you drive into the zone without a compliant vehicle as of today you are at risk of getting an enforcement letter," said TfL's Chief Customer & Strategy Officer Alex Williams.

"That enforcement letter will be a warning notice to let people know they are liable for a fine and they should switch to a cleaner vehicle or register for auto pay.

"If they register for auto pay that means they don't have to worry about getting a penalty charge notice because when they are seen in the zone the payment will come out of their account automatically.

"That discretion period will last about four weeks," he added.

On August 29, the ULEZ scheme expanded from the North and South Circular roads to cover the whole of Greater London.

People who drive in the zone in a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee.

Failure to pay can lead to a PCN of £180, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

Before the zone expanded TfL sent letters to the owners of non-compliant vehicles previously detected by cameras in the new ULEZ area.

But some affected motorists may drive in the zone without knowing they are required to pay a fee.

There are fears that the refusal by some neighbouring counties to allow TfL to put up signage on roads approaching the new ULEZ area could also lead to people entering it by mistake.

There are various methods of paying the ULEZ charge, including online, over the phone, through an app or by signing up to an automatic payment system.

AA president Edmund King said: "It is essential that TfL sends out warning letters to drivers not complying with the ULEZ until the system beds in.

"We know that there is a widespread lack of signage outside the current zone in areas such as Hertfordshire, so fining drivers who don’t even know they are in the zone would backfire.

"Drivers need fair warning of when they are about to enter the ULEZ or when they are on a road that will take them into the zone if they stay on it."

On the day that Birmingham’s emissions-based charging scheme was introduced in June 2021, the city’s council announced that the £8 daily fees for non-compliant vehicles would not need to be paid for the first two weeks as part of a “soft launch”.

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