A WOMAN said she would rather donate to Ukraine than pay the council’s ‘cowboys’ after being slapped with two £378 Clean Air Zone (CAZ) fines.
Kasia Lambert was hit with the staggering sum, although she later proved she had tried to pay the daily fee.
When Kasia visited Birmingham on 14th and 15th August last year and knew the CAZ was operational she made a payment of £16 for the two days she entered the zone.
Thoughtless of it, the 42-year-old then returned to the French city of Hyères, where she now lives.
It was only days later, after receiving CAZ fines from Birmingham City Council, that Kasia checked her bank app and found the £16 had been returned to her account.
Kasia believed there was a misunderstanding and appealed.
She said: “I have attached a screenshot of the ‘refund’ and explained that an error had occurred. I even offered to pay the £16 again but was told they see no reason to lift the fine.”
Kasia’s full bank statement shows there was sufficient funds at the time of the transaction.
The £16 will appear to have left their account before being returned later the same day.
Kasia is now embroiled in a seven-month battle with the authorities and claims she is unwilling to pay.
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She added: “I’d rather give Ukraine £380 than those cowboys.”
Their initial £120 fines totaling £240, or £60 each if paid within 14 days, have since tripled as late charges were added.
“They’re just sending me letters threatening bailiffs,” says Kasia. “It’s like something out of Kafka.”
A blunt council letter describing her unsuccessful appeal read: “Your vehicle registration was within the CAZ without the daily fee being paid on time and in the manner required.”
It’s not the first time the appeals process has come under fire, as some believe the council is “going out out of fear” when it comes to imposing fines. Criticism is also leveled at the authority for the duration of the processing of an objection.
If a driver appeals a fine, it can take more than two weeks – the time allotted for a reduced rate of £60 – for the authority to react.
This means if it takes longer than 14 days the standard charge of £120 will be charged if guilt is proven.
DRIVERS FORK FORK
The fine will therefore not be “frozen” while an investigation takes place – leaving drivers no choice but to shell out the extra money despite exceeding the advice.
A spokeswoman for Birmingham City Council said: “For anyone who receives a PCN that they believe has been incorrectly issued there are a number of avenues of challenge or appeal.
“The first opportunity is with the Council. Then there is an additional opportunity to appeal to an independent arbitrator.
“The purpose of the Clean Air Zone is to encourage owners of the most polluting vehicles on our roads to do something different.
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“This can be avoiding the zone, upgrading or replacing a vehicle, or making greater use of public transport and other active modes of transportation.
“We would like to remind and encourage everyone to check whether or not their vehicle is subject to the Clean Air Zone daily fee and to familiarize themselves with the payment process.”
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8573018/fined-driving-clean-air-zone-council-cowboys/ I was fined £380 for driving through the Clean Air Zone