Couple who've never entered Bristol clean air zone fined again after number plate blunder

020623 Fine blunder BPM Media
Images of the fines sent by Bristol City Council Credit: BPM Media

A couple who has never entered the clear air zone in Bristol has been fined more than £1,400.

Andrew and Fiona Robinson, who live in Sussex, kept receiving fines due to a number plate mix-up.

The total number of fines has now reached 11, and the couple has complained for a second time to Bristol City Council.

Bristol CAZ camera system was unable to tell the difference between the couple's non-compliant car and a different car with a similar number plate.

While their silver Renault diesel was parked safely up at their home in Horsham, the unknown driver of an Audi was driving around Bristol, triggering the CAZ cameras.

The couple were sent a grainy image of a car that wasn't theirs. Credit: BPM Media

Back in February, Andrew and Fiona were left fuming because every time the Audi owner drove through the city centre, they would get a fine from Bristol City Council and would then have to appeal and complain.

Every time, the fixed penalty notices were accompanied by a grainy image of a different car.

Because it kept happening Andrew and Fiona escalated their complaints all the way to the chief executive, Stephen Peacock.

This prompted the council to cancel all fines, saying "they will not incur any more PCNs from now on."

This all happened back in February, and the Robinsons hoped it would be the end of it. But now three more fines have dropped onto their doormat in Sussex.

Andrew said they have submitted a second formal complaint - if they had paid all the 11 PCNs it would have totalled £1,419.

Andrew Robison was left frustrated by the wrongly issued fines. Credit: BPM Media

In a further twist, the Audi driver visited London and triggered the ULEZ camera system there. Transport for London refunded the £12.50 the couple had to pay.

The Audi number plate begins CY11 but the bolt cover has come off and to a CAZ camera the plate reads GY11 - a perfect match for the Renault.

The problem is the Audi is CAZ compliant, so whoever is driving it has no reason to check and is unaware their trips into town spark a fine for a couple living 140 miles away.

The Robisons' Renault is non-compliant with Bristol's CAZ, but they have no intention of coming to Bristol.

Back in February, the council apologised to the couple for the issue and the time and inconvenience of dealing with all the fines.

A spokesperson for the council said at the time: “We have been in regular contact with the Robinsons to understand and resolve their case."We have looked into the details of their case and can confirm that the letter C on the number plate was misread by the system as a G due to the placement of a bolt on another vehicle’s number plate.

"All of their current Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have been cancelled and they will not incur any more PCNs from now on.

"They will shortly receive written confirmation of their PCN cancellations, and they do not need to take any further action. We apologise for any inconvenience or upset caused by this error."