Drivers could appeal fines issued for breaching ULEZ standards over ‘illegal’ signs that do not explicitly warn people of daily charge
- Road traffic lawyers say signs aren’t clear about fines being handed out
- Drivers could bring challenges to fines, causing headaches for Sadiq Khan
Thousands of ‘illegal’ Ulez signs could spark court challenges by drivers caught in the clean air scheme, lawyers have warned.
Drivers entering the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which last week was expanded to cover all of London’s 32 boroughs, must pay a daily charge of £12.50 if their vehicles do not comply.
But experts say the green and white signs marking the beginning of the Ulez area are legally non-compliant as they do not explicitly warn drivers of the charge.
Road traffic lawyer Nick Freeman said: ‘The signs tell you that you are entering a Ulez zone, but they do not tell you what the consequences are.
‘They don’t tell you that you are going to be charged for it.’
A sign marking the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in London – but a road traffic lawyer believes the signs could be breaking the law
Nick Freeman says that the ULEZ signs only warn you of entering a ‘zone’ – not that you could be charged for doing so
ULEZ continues to face staunch opposition from campaigners despite launching on Tuesday
The prospect of drivers challenging ULEZ fines on the basis of the signs’ alleged illegality could prove a headache for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Mr Freeman said the signs did not comply with the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Traffic Signs and Regulations and General Directions Act 2016.
The legislation states that traffic signs must warn motorists they are entering a charging area and provide them with the times of this charge, like those used for the London Congestion Charge.
He added: ‘The Congestion Charge zone signs are unambiguous.
‘They tell you that you are entering a charging zone.
‘But the Ulez signs tell you that you are entering a zone, which is not sufficient.’
A previous case involving Noel Wilcox, a scaffolder who was fined £11,500 for not paying seven Low Emission Zone (Lez) tickets, could now cause a huge legal setback for Sadiq Khan.
Mr Wilcox’s fines were cancelled after he successfully argued in court that Transport for London’s (TfL) Lez signs – which are identical to those used for Ulez – did not warn motorists they were entering a charge zone or that it was applicable 24 hours a day.
Last night, Mr Wilcox said: ‘These Ulez signs are illegal. This is what my case has proved.’
TfL said the case had been ruled in Mr Wilcox’s favour because evidence by City Hall was not submitted in time.
A spokesman added: ‘The Lez signs were deemed lawful by the Department of Transport in 2008.
‘Due to a processing error the correct evidence was not supplied to the Adjudicator in time.’
Sold for £19k, just one rather carefree owner
A rare 1937 Bentley sports saloon from the collection of raffish Conservative MP Alan Clark was sold at auction yesterday for £19,000, offering the buyer an ostentatious way to defeat London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new emissions tax.
The 4-litre sports saloon, which is exempt from the capital’s Ulez regulations because it is more than 40 years old, was bought in 1989 as a restoration project by the colourful MP.
Sadly, the project was mothballed because of Mr Clark’s ill health and the Bentley has languished ever since as a neglected footnote to his vintage car collection at medieval Saltwood Castle in Kent, where the MP died of a brain tumour in 1999 aged 71 – and where his widow Jane still lives.
The 1937 Bentley is exempt from ULEZ because it is more than 40 years old
The Bentley was bought as a passion project in 1989 by raffish Conservative MP Alan Clark, but was never completed after he died of a brain tumour
Mr Clark was best known for his roving eye and outspoken manner. Despite his long marriage to Jane – he was 30 and she just 16 on their wedding day – he detailed numerous infidelities in his best-selling diaries.The candid account even revealed a crush on Margaret Thatcher – he was fascinated by her ‘dainty’ ankles.
But he had also maintained a lifelong fascination with motoring, ever since teaching himself to drive in a 6.6 litre Bentley two-seater he bought while a schoolboy at Eton in the 1940s.
The 1937 Bentley, which went under the hammer at auctioneer Bonhams’ specialist Beaulieu car sale, is not the first from Mr Clark’s collection to be sold. A restored drophead 4.4 litre tourer fetched £85,000 in 2016.
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