Unpaid LEZ fines totalling £9.6m owed to TfL

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Unpaid fines totalling £9.6m have been accumulated by large vehicles including coaches, trucks and buses as operators fail to pay fines.

The most heavily polluting vehicles must pay £200 daily to enter Greater London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

As would perhaps be expected, the majority of the money is owed by foreign operators, totalling £6.2m, while British vehicles owe £3.4m since the fees introduction by TfL in 2008. The authority has described the issues surrounding the collection of money from foreign operators as “problematic.”

Paul Cowperthwaite, head of contracted services for traffic enforcement at TfL, said: “Recovering unpaid penalties incurred by vehicles registered in some countries can be problematic and is a well-known UK-wide problem.

“TfL has arrangements in place with a Europe-wide debt recovery agency for the service of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to recover penalties incurred by non-UK registered vehicles.”

TfL has said large vehicles which do not meet the Euro III emissions standard are required to pay a charge of £200 daily. Failure to pay this will result in a £1,000 fine.

A freedom of information request made by Commercial Motor magazine showed 2,700 PCNs were issued to foreign operators between January and July, of which about £2m has been left unpaid. For UK-registered vehicles, 2,504 PCNs were issued totaling £2.5m. £971,000 of this sum remains unpaid.

The figures show an increasing trend in unpaid fines for foreign operators. In 2008, £193,000 of fines was left unpaid, with the figures increasing to £1.72m and £2.39m in 2009 and 2010. Figures for UK vehicles are more erratic, with £44,000 of fines unpaid in 2008, £1.6m in 2009 and £793,000 in 2010.