Birmingham Clean Air Zone: driver gets fined after paying the charge
A driver is perplexed after the Clean Air Zone online system returned his payment without explanation and then fined him for non-payment.
Sean Alabaster visited Birmingham on December 13 to have work carried out on his car – and paid the Clean Air Zone charge online while still in the city.
He then returned to his home in Llanhilleth, South Wales – but was surprised to receive a CAZ fine for non-payment of the charge several weeks later.
After querying the fine with a national helpdesk, he was told the £8 payment had been returned to his account the same day he paid.
He says he checked his bank statement which showed the payment had left his account but had been returned.
He has since unsuccessfully tried to contact Birmingham City Council more than 30 times to appeal the fine – which is worth £60 if paid within 14 days, rising to £120 afterwards.
He now has to decide whether to continue trying to appeal the fine or pay it before January 18 to avoid the fine doubling.
What did Mr Alabaster say about the fine in his own words?
Mr Alabaster, 53, a relationship manager for a website, who drives a Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200, said: “I am still trying to get through. I have tried ringing them 32 times.
“I knew I was in the zone and attempted to pay it – but their system sent it back. Why is it like this? Why can’t you get through?
“It’s such an unfair system and it’s so badly stacked against you.”
Payment for the CAZ charge is done via the Gov.uk website but a Department for Transport spokesperson said the return of the payment and fine would be a matter for the city council.
What has Birmingham City Council said about Mr Alabaster’s Clean Air Zone fine?
Birmingham City Council has previously said it cannot comment on individual cases.
A spokesperson said: “The council are aware of this case and are responding. If a driver feels they have received a PCN unfairly, they have a right to respond.”
Watch the council promo video for #BrumBreathes campaign below
Have other drivers received fines unfairly?
The case comes after it was reported Ruth Costello, 57, a civil servant who lives in West Sussex, received 19 fines totalling £2,280 for the Birmingham Clean Air Zone – despite never driving in the city.
The Clean Air Zone has been introduced to tackle poor air quality in the city responsible for a reported 900 deaths per year.
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