A young couple have been fined £24k for breaching London’s pollution rules by driving their camper van around the city.
Sasha Ogden and Freddy Mayhew, both 28, were accused of driving into the low emission zone without paying the £100 daily fee for non-compliant vans nine times.
The zone covers most of the built-up area of the M25 but the couple claim they were unaware their camper van would be affected by the new changes to the rule.
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Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, introduced tougher measures in March for heavier vehicles.
Sasha and Freddy will be appealing to Transport for London to overturn the huge fine they have received.
Sasha, a project manager, told the Times: “It’s almost someone’s yearly salary so I don’t know how you can expect somebody to pay that.”
The first time the pair were caught by the camera, on April 20, they were driving Sasha’s possessions from her parents’ home in Jersey to move into their new flat in Twickenham, South West London.
Their Nissan NV100, a 2010 diesel, was detected on eight subsequent occasions between April 30 and June 10 on the A316, east of Sunbury-on-Thames.
The unwelcome shock of the fines was first discovered when penalty charge notices dated August 12 arrived at Sasha’s family home, where the van was registered.
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Each fine is £2k, which halves to £1k is payed within ten days or increases to £3k if not paid.
They were mistakenly relieved to open a letter dated August 12 from Transport for London saying: “On this occasion you have been sent a warning letter rather than a penalty charge notice.”
However, this only applied to the first of the nine offences. The rest still stood.
On October 7 a new letter came through the door, dated October 2, stating the charges had escalated to £3k and that the debt would be registered at court if still unpaid by October 16.
Their van complies with the Euro 3 emissions standard which makes them believe TfL have made a mistake.
Freddy is desperately hoping it was one as he said the couple could only pay for the fine by selling their new flat, which is heavily mortgaged and consumes half their earnings.
He said: “Everyone’s talking about how difficult life is going to be. You’re bracing yourself for one thing, and ten you get hit by a bus.”
On Monday, Sadiq Khan will extend the ultra low emission zone, which affects cars and has been in force in Central London since 2019, to an area 18 times larger.
In these areas, diesel cars made before September 2015 and petrol cars before 2006 will have to pay £12.50 every day they drive inside the zone.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “We’re sorry for the distress that Ms Ogden and Mr Mayhew have experienced and are urgently investigating this case to ensure they are only charged reasonable and appropriate fees.”
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