Home Business News Number plate errors cause hundreds of innocent drivers to be hit with ULEZ fines, according to car expert

Number plate errors cause hundreds of innocent drivers to be hit with ULEZ fines, according to car expert

by Sarah Dunsby
29th Sep 23 2:05 pm

Car experts have warned against fines given in error to hundreds of UK drivers, when driving in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has recently expanded to encompass greater London and is bordered by the M25, holds owners of non-compliant road vehicles accountable to emissions-based charges. The scheme was initially announced in 2015, but did not come into force until September 2020.

Throughout the last three months, VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less team have received a number of enquiries, after several UK drivers have received fines by mistake. The Plates4Less team have been supporting clients in challenging and overturning their incorrect ULEZ charges.

In June, around 4,000 ULEZ fines were issued per day. Experts at Plates4Less claim that many of those fines were unfair as TfL (Transport for London) is not updating their vehicle database quickly enough from DVLA records, which correctly link number plates to the correct vehicle details.

If they updated their records every day, the experts say that they would know that these vehicles are ULEZ compliant but because they don’t do this the ANPR camera’s information is linked to their basic non-DVLA database.

This ‘basic’ database tells TfL the age of the vehicle from the age indicator on the number plate and if the vehicle is older than 2006 for petrol cars and 2015 for diesel cars, then they seem to automatically issue a charge.

This basic linking becomes an issue when vehicles carry an older personalised number plate than the vehicle, which makes it seem like an older vehicle to the cameras, meaning they are issued with a charge incorrectly.

To help motorists avoid finding themselves in this situation unfairly, the number plate and motoring experts from VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less have put together a quick guide. Their useful template can be used to challenge TfL or any other authority where the issue of a mistaken charge or fine is made.

Antony Clark, of Plates4Less, said: “As a trusted supplier of private number plates, people often come to us with their questions, and we’re happy to help. We have found that Transport for London is not updating their vehicles database from DVLA records often enough”.

“We contacted TFL on behalf of our clients and were pleased to discover that there’s a super easy fix to this issue. As long as people send Transport for London a copy of their V5 Registration Certificate when they get a charge, TfL should be able to investigate and cancel the charges and any subsequent fine.”

Antony assured: “We’ve included an email template for challenging inaccurate charges in our free guide, alongside other useful information about ULEZ and Clean Air zones.”

The guide is available to view online, here: www.plates4less.co.uk/ulez. This guide is just the most recent released by Plates4Less, who have a number of others that may be helpful to people interested in private plates or motorists in general.

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone has been a source of controversy for some time, as even people who live within the zone are not exempt from costs. The best way to prevent receiving a charge or fine is to drive a vehicle that fits ULEZ requirements, but this is not always possible because many EVs are expensive, and the rules are sometimes confusing. As such, complaints about this zone were common – even before it expanded in August.

Antony added: “The issue remains that the system isn’t perfect and the database updates slowly, which is why some motorists who are driving compliant vehicles are receiving charges and fines that they shouldn’t be. This solution proposed by Plates4Less should allow Transport for London to update their files, solving the problem.

“At Plates4Less, we’ve seen the many ways that a new number plate can benefit drivers, and ULEZ shouldn’t get in the way of that. We hope our guide will help motorists understand how to navigate ULEZ, and avoid unnecessary fines.”

VRM Swansea -Plates4Less is a well-established agency for buyers and sellers of private number plates in the UK. It has over 65 million registrations on its books, and the most technically advanced smart search engine to help clients find the perfect plate. Trading since 1997, the company has more 5 star reviews on Trustpilot than any other agency in its field of expertise.

Despite the name, Plates4Less holds the UK record for negotiating the sale of the most expensive private sale to date in the United Kingdom, at in excess of £600,000 in 2022.

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