A man has vowed never to return to Bristol after being hit with a series of Clean Air Zone (CAZ) fines while visiting his sick newborn granddaughter.
Alan Stubbington was travelling through the city to visit his "seriously ill 12-week-old granddaughter" when he entered the fee-paying zone.
It was his first time in Bristol city centre and he was trying to follow his sat-nav, avoid bus lanes and read road signs.
He did spot a few "green zone" signs but didn't realise these meant he had to pay.
He said: "As a new visitor to the city I won't be returning or recommending it to anyone else to visit. I was concentrating on the roads.
"My car is green enough to not have to pay the road tax so assumed it was emissions-friendly!
"I did, of course, get lost and was driving around quite a lot looking for the hospital - especially as I was under a fair bit of stress!
"I repeated the journey two days later and left the city by a different route that I thought was easier and as I was going to the airport so was following sat-nav again for the easiest route."
Nearly three weeks later, he was amazed to get two fines through the post.
They arrived in January, which means it was still during the grace period, but if they had arrived a month later he would have been paying hundreds of pounds.
"These were too late to lodge a proper 'within seven days' appeal so I duly paid the £9 fee for each 'offence'," he said.
"In my opinion, the whole thing is a disgrace and leaving people with no case for appealing for leniency in special cases even though I appreciate ignorance of the law is no excuse!"
Another motorist fears he might lose his licence after driving through Bristol's CAZ up to 30 times without realising his car wasn't compliant.
By the time the first fine landed on his doorstep, he had already racked up huge fines with the council.
An Easton pensioner says he is forced to drive around a huge detour to avoid paying the fees, which he cannot afford.
He says the system is not fit for purpose because he's now using more emissions.
A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “Bristol’s Clean Air Zone emissions standards will ensure that the city meets the requirement from the government to bring air pollution within legal limits in the shortest possible time.
"We have always been clear that drivers should use the vehicle checker before travelling to find out if they need to pay a charge for their chosen route."
"Those who think they have received a Clean Air Zone PCN in error or have mitigating circumstances can submit an appeal. Each appeal will be assessed based on its own merit.”
Bristol City Council did run a series of campaigns to warn drivers about the new system and signposts are in place around the area to show motorists they are about to enter the fee-paying road.
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