Driver hits out at Birmingham Clean Air Zone after paying £120 fine - despite ‘paying charge’

Sean Alabaster was fined after he said his payment was rejected
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A driver who says he paid the Clean Air Zone charge - but the payment was rejected - has lost an appeal and paid a £120 fine.

Sean Alabaster is adamant he paid the CAZ charge after travelling from his home in Llanhilleth, South Wales to visit the city for car maintenance work on December 13.

After receiving a fine in the post he queried it and was told the £8 payment he made on the day of the trip had been returned to his account.

He appealed the fine with Birmingham City Council – but has since been told the appeal has failed.

He has now paid the penalty charge notice (PCN) -which cost £120 because the 14-day period in which the discount of £60 applied has now elapsed.

Mr Alabaster, 53, a relationship manager for a website, who drives a Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200, said he has been told the payment “timed out”.

He said: “They said they have not issued the PCN incorrectly so I lost the appeal. It’s a ‘he said/she said’ argument.

“This absolutely shows it’s not about pollution, it’s about cash in the bank for them.”

Sean AlabasterSean Alabaster
Sean Alabaster

What has Birmingham City Council said about Sean’s claims?

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said in response: “For someone who receives a Clean Air Zone penalty charge notice they have the option to pay the charge or they can submit a challenge if they believe it has been issued incorrectly.

“If they choose to pay the charge they have up to 14 days, from the date of issue, to pay a reduced fee of £60.

“Or they have up to 28 days, from the date of issue, to pay the standard charge of £120.

“If they choose to challenge the penalty charge notice they have up to 28 days from the date of issue to do so.

“To make this whole process as clear and as transparent as possible the penalty charge notice includes the grounds for a challenge, in line with the relevant legislation, and the council has published clear guidelines on how it considers all representations.”

Have there been other complaints about the Clean Air Zone?

The Clean Air Zone has been introduced to tackle poor air quality responsible for a reported 900 deaths per year in the city.

But leader of the council, Cllr Ian Ward issued an apology about the way it has been implemented after a series of cases were reported in the press about people being fined wrongly.

The cases included one woman who received 19 fines for not paying - despite living 160 miles away in West Sussex, and never having visited Birmingham.

The council said new checks had been put in place on the technology used to send out Penalty Charge Notices.

They also said they were working with central government and other partners.

Clean Air Zone plans in Greater Manchester have been put on hold to enable a revised plan to be draw up and more consultation

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