Hello everyone. I wonder if anyone can help.
We are a retired couple in the South of France with a diesel car that is classed Euro 5, we have paid and have registration with the French government Crit’Air emissions standard.
We drove to the UK last November to attend our daughter’s wedding and some weeks later received a total of 15 Ultra Low Emission Zone fines from TfL that were dated between 3rd November and 8th December issued through Euro Parking Collection Plc in Germany. Each of these fines was for €195 or £160 as the 14 day deadline for 50% reduction or time to appeal had already long passed. Total to pay: £2,400. We immediately contacted TfL to explain why we thought we could enter ULEZ zones sending a copy of our Crit’Air certification. and were told they didn’t recognise the registration number, couldn’t identify the vehicle and did not recognise Crit’Air standards.
Today we received a final demand posted from Sweden (dated 18th May) advising us to pay or appeal to The Road User Charging Adjudicators within 28 days of the letter (12 days left), or the fines will be increased due to late payments.
We haven’t got £2,400 to pay and still don’t feel we should.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hello everyone. I wonder if anyone can help.
In the London area there is a fixed daily fee that all internal combustion vehicles must pay. Failure to pay within a short period will result in the fines you have received. There is no ‘crit air’ system like in France.
I can’t see a legal way out, other than calling them and pleading misunderstanding. The information is there on the signs entering the area and on the TfL website, so it’s going to be hard to claim not knowing. It may be that if you call someone will be sympathetic, but TBH I suspect it may be too late for that and the wheels of legal action have turned irreversibly.
I’ve no love or respect for TfL, but they have you bang to rights by the sound of things. Good luck - I hope you can escape the penalty.
Yours is a problem encountered by many others who didn’t realise they need to pay the daily charge. See linked article.
Crit’air is a French scheme that applies in France. I don’t believe it is recognised outside europe, and I don’t recall anything in the papers we got when we got ours suggesting it might be.
The only thing that might help is a recorded delivery letter enclosing your documents and asking for a the fines to be written off, or reduced to the original fine only.
What a dreadful predicament. It’s worth reading that Guardian article and possible writing to the paper as they may be prepared to intervene on your behalf as they have (successfully) with others.
This is a reminder to everyone never to visit London or anywhere else that has a rip off scheme in operation.A new rip off scheme just started in Glasgow the other day,this one has no option to pay an entry charge,just fines that keep doubling every time you are ripped off,anyone know of any other cities to avoid?
Unfortunately they do say ignorance is no defence in law, unless of course you are a serving member of the government.
No, it’s a reminder to people to pay attention to environmental measures to curb car pollution and follow the rules. I agree the debt collecting services are shysters, but the scheme itself is simple to understand. Public transport in these areas is good, but if you don’t want to use it and have an old vehicle then just pay a fee.
Discovered the Glasgow system a fortnight ago. Wasn’t entirely sure whether the motorway was included in the LEZ or not, but having just checked, it appears not.
To be fair, these systems also exist in a number of German cities as well, and Crit’air isn’t recognized there either - you have to obtain a green Umweltplakette sticker before you enter one of the cities that has implemented the system. In some cities, a recovery fee is charged on top of the fine. If your car isn’t awarded a green sticker (e.g. for some diesel vehicles), you will not be allowed to drive through the area without incurring a fine. At least with the German sticker, it covers every city in Germany that has implemented the system, and is valid for 3 years (in many respects, similar to the Crit’air system).
This is alarming to me as I am travelling to England soon and I was hoping that my brief brush with London on the M25 was not included in the scheme. Am I right?
As to the above quote though, I was wondering how they found you if they couldn’t ID the reg. number and therefore the vehicle.
Also, how will they enforce these fines in France? Will they take legal action in a French court?
M25 is ok. The map is on the link below,
None of the M25 is inside the ULEZ as Khan wasnt allowed to thankfully. There are signs on every road entrance where it applies as you make your way closer to london, currently think inside roads on north and south circulars.
That changes later this year 29th August.
Some neck given the German car manufacturers fiddling of their emissions numbers.
Up to now they can get your registration, and know that it is a French plate, but couldn’t get any other info. I believe that France and UK have just agreed more sharing of info, so yes they can get to you via a French debt collector/french court.
Very, very good point David. Post Brexit all this registration sharing stuff is off the table to the best of my knowledge.
So, if I was in PhilCAM’s position I’d write back (letter recommandé with avis of course) to the shysters in Sweden asking how they got my data and telling them I was about to make a complaint to the French Data Protection Commissioner. Which I would then do (it’s probably simply online) Homepage | CNIL. The one thing I wouldn’t do is pay them. Then I would follow this advice…
"Unfortunately, for the London ULEZ Zone, the company hired by Transport for London to manage the levies appears to have found a way to get non-UK car users details and a significant number of fine notices were sent out in November 2022, covering journeys in the London ULEZ zone between October 2021 and November 2022). These were sent to all non-UK registered car owners, regardless of whether that car was exempt from paying the ULEZ charge and some car owners received multiple fines totalling, in extreme cases, more than €10.000.
A Facebook group was set up to share information on how to contest these charges, EPC Official Complaint Group (Redirecting...) and due to this concerted action, most of those who have cars that are compliant with the ULEZ requlations have been able to appeal against the fines, which have been dropped. However, if your car is not ULEZ compliant (basically diesels older than 2016 and petrol cars older than 2006) the fine is still payable. As questions have been asked about the legality of the manner in which EPC obtained the car owner’s address, those car owners are taking a collective legal action against EPC and Transport for London to attempt to obtain the cancellation of the fines. That case is still pending"
which I found here…
So, even if your car at crit’air 5 isn’t ULEZ compliant I still wouldn’t pay until the illegal acquisition of your (and everybody else’s) data is resolved.
As a compromise, and as gesture of good will, you might offer to pay the basic fine of £95 as it wasn’t your fault you were informed of the “offence” after the 14 day deadline. Obviously do that in hardcopy registered letters and keep your paper trail of interactions with the shysters. Even if you do decide to do that (and I personally wouldn’t except to show that, unlike me they are unyielding and unreasonable) I’d still vigorously pursue the data privacy issue their communication with you has revealed. They could be fined hundreds of thousands
This might be of interest to you David…
“Similarly, fines have been levied by EPC for non-payment of the Congestion Charge or the Dartford Crossing toll. These differ from the ULEZ fines in that in each case the charge should have been paid (no vehicles are exempted) and so the only argument that may lead to cancellation of the fine is the illegality of the manner in which the car owner’s address was obtained. Again the legal case on this is still pending.”
As Stated in my previous post,it is not possible to pay a fee to enter the zone on the Glasgow scheme.
Indeed. But the relevant website makes it quite clear that if non-compliant cars enter the ULEZ they will be breaking the law. With the Glasgow scheme you can’t buy a 'get out of jail’card.
I’m not sure how they ‘got’ me, but, I’ve been told that as this is a civil and not a criminal action there is very little TfL can do to enforce payment in France.
I still believe that the UK is a part of Europe although not in the E.U. and it was because of this that I was sure the Crit’Air certification allowed me passage through ULEZ zones.
Looking at the German requirements posted earlier it looks like united Europe is far from it and every bugget wants their share of your euros.
I would be very interested to know who it was that gave you this advice, was it a lawyer and if so, French or British?