Smoking motorist fined £540 after driving through Clean Air Zone


A furious motorist has been slapped with a £540 Clean Air Zone fee after driving through Birmingham several times without a bank card. Clive Harvey claims to have been the victim of an attempted scam last December. He had therefore destroyed his card and was waiting for a new one.

This meant the businessman was unable to afford three days’ worth of fees, he claims. But despite explaining what happened, he was hit with several fixed fines.

Clive, from Lichfield, said he contacted Birmingham City Council bosses for four months to no avail. The 39-year-old said he had been in touch “dozens” of times and even asked his local MP Michael Fabricator to champion the cause.

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The motorist, who is a design consultant and owner of an engineering company, said he believed the local authority was ignoring him on purpose. “They don’t have an answering machine,” he said. “It’s going straight to a dead line.”

Clive claimed that when he finally managed to reach the local authorities, a member of staff told him that the council “didn’t even read the complaint”. It was then that he felt compelled to go see his MP.

But he was told several times that there was nothing to be done. He even claimed he was told to go through debt collectors rather than the council because there were no exceptions to the payment rules.

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone came into effect on June 1, 2021 and charges began on June 14. The emission zone means that cars, taxis, vans, trucks, buses and coaches must pay a daily fee to enter the city center if they are not compliant. emissions standards and have not been granted an exemption.

The council’s website reads: “Please note that you will not receive a notification or alert telling you that you have entered the zone and payment is due; you, as the driver, are entirely responsible understanding and managing all payments.If you fail to pay within this allotted 13 day payment window period, you will be subject to a penalty notice of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.”

Despite being scammed and waiting for a new card – meaning he was unable to pay – Birmingham City Council were unwilling to give up the charges.

Because the issue has been going on for so long, Clive now owes nearly £600. He last spoke to the council the week before Easter and was told once again that nothing could be done.

“When you appeal, you lose the discount,” Clive said. “Then it goes up to £180 and if they reject your appeal you have to pay. My next point of appeal was to raise a freedom of information request asking for financial figures. This is my honest opinion, it’s doomed. I feel like the victim of a scammer.”

Clive, who was traveling to Birmingham to work with a client, described himself as a ‘highly professional person’ and said he thought other people would struggle.

He added: “If I fail with this system, then who else is? I was the victim of a crime. It was a website transmitting engineering documents. I quickly realized “that doesn’t seem right” and I did some further research and found out it was a scam.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “For someone who receives a penalty notice they can pay the fee or, if they believe it was issued incorrectly, they can submit a dispute If someone chooses to challenge a penalty notice, they have up to 28 days from the date it was issued and a challenge can be submitted online or by mail.

“To make the process as clear and transparent as possible, the notice of fine includes the grounds for challenge, in accordance with the relevant legislation, and the Council has issued clear guidelines on how it considers all representations. If someone is not satisfied with the Board’s decision to dismiss a protest, there is a further right of appeal or the right to challenge a penalty notice at later stages in the process.

Do you have a story about Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone? Contact us by emailing [email protected]


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