Birmingham City Council has dished out more than 44,000 fines to drivers who failed to pay an £8 daily charge to enter its new Clean Air Zone.
The CAZ, which went live at the beginning of June, began charging users of non-compliant older vehicles from 14 June.
Non-payment results in a fine of £120, though this is halved to £60 if paid within six days. It means the council could pocket between £2.5million and £5.3million a month in penalties if compliance doesn’t improve.
Incredibly, more than 80 of the fines issued in the first month of operation were to Birmingham City Council itself as drivers of its vehicles entered the zone without paying the daily charge.
Birmingham Clean Air Zone’s first month figures revealed: Over 44,000 drivers entered the zone in non-compliant vehicles, says the city council
The zone in Birmingham was first introduced on 1 June in a bid to reduce air pollution and became the first emission-related charging zone to sting motorists outside of London and it’s Ultra Low Emission Zone launched in 2019.
The city council confirmed it had issued 44,106 non-payment penalty charge notices (PCN) since 21 June after charging started on 14 June.
It said it expects the number of people receiving fines to reduce as they adapt to the system.
Incredibly, at least 82 of the penalties were issued to the council itself, according to the BBC.
That’s because non-compliant Birmingham City Council vehicles were driven through into zone without paying the daily rate.
‘A number’ of these cases – it said – were its waste vehicles travelling into the city for ‘repairs and maintenance’.
The authority said it would be paying the penalties, just like other motorists who had received a PCN in the first month of the scheme.
While the daily charge for cars, vans and taxis that fail to meet the required emissions standard is £8, HGVs and coaches are charged £50 to enter the zone.
In the first month of operation the daily average number of vehicles entering the CAZ was between 95,000 and 100,000, says the council’s report.
In the first two weeks, 18.7 per cent of the vehicles entering the zone were non-compliant and forced to pay the daily charge.
However, by the third and fourth week, the percentage of non-compliant vehicles fell to 12.4 per cent – likely as a result of charges coming into force on 14 June.
The Clean Air Zone covers all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road in Birmingham city centre
Birmingham City Council says it expects the number of people receiving fines to reduce as they adapt to the system
Data released by the council this week shows only a quarter of drivers – 10,464 – of vehicles that fail to meet the required emission standard, have so far paid the subsequent fine.
The council said it is implementing a ‘soft enforcement’ strategy until the end of this month, which allows those who don’t pay the fine to pay the original CAZ fee amount rather than the full penalty.
It has been estimated that a combination of charges and fines will generate £1.5million in the first month.
Passenger cars accounted for 80 per cent of unique vehicles entering the zone on a daily basis with vans the second largest category of vehicles at 9 per cent, the report states.
Incredibly, the city council confirmed earlier this month that 83 of the vehicles fined for non-payment of the CAZ charge were their own.
The authority said it would be paying the penalties, with some of the motors charged being waste vehicles needing to travel into the city for repairs and maintenance.
The council said it is implementing a ‘soft enforcement’ strategy until the end of this month, which allows those who don’t pay the fine to pay the original CAZ fee amount rather than the full penalty
Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: ‘It is very early days for the Clean Air Zone but it is good to see a reduction in the number of non-compliant vehicles entering the zone and I remain committed to publishing regular updates about the operation and impact of the zone on traffic and air quality.
‘I also want to take this opportunity to remind all drivers to check whether or not they will need to pay the daily fee by visiting www.brumbreathes.co.uk.
‘And if they do need to pay the fee there is a comprehensive package of temporary and permanent exemptions and financial incentives that we will continue to use to help the transition to a clean air city.’
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