ULEZ backlash: ‘Mr Loophole’ reveals how London drivers will have grounds to challenge fines
- Six out of the seven local authorities bordering London have refused Ulez signs
A top motoring lawyer, known as Mr Loophole, has advised that drivers who enter newly expanded Ulez zones without encountering warning signs will have grounds to challenge their fines.
Nick Freeman, who describes himself as ‘Britain’s highest profile lawyer’ and who has got a string of high profile figures off driving offences has suggested the fines themselves ‘could be invalid without warning signs.’
The Ulez expansion launches on Tuesday August 29, and will see thousands of people driving older, more polluting cars charged £12.50 a day to drive into the capital.
However, six out of the seven local authorities immediately bordering London have refused to sign a legal agreement with Transport for London (TfL) to allow Ulez signs within their borders.
The act of protest has been mounted by Surrey County Council, Kent County Council, Essex County Council, Hertfordshire Council, Buckinghamshire Council and Thurrock Council, which are Tory-led and have been vocal about the financial impact Ulez will have on its residents.
Nick Freeman, a top motoring lawyer, known as Mr Loophole, has suggested that some drivers may be able to appeal fines
From next week, the controversial scheme will will cover all London boroughs and will force drivers of non-compliant vehicles to shell out £12.50 a day
Local resistance to the scheme has been fierce in some areas of London with signs installed beneath cameras to warn drivers
The only council that signed an agreement was Slough Borough Council, which shares the smallest border with London and only has two signs installed, the Daily Telegraph reported.
READ MORE: Sadiq Khan claims Ulez critics are conspiracy theorists who believe Covid isn’t real – days before his hated £12.50-a-day green tax rolls out across London
Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Freeman explained that this has the potential to create very real issues for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
He explained: ‘Any road traffic regulations that are introduced, there must be clear, unambiguous signage.
‘And in the absence of clear, unambiguous signage, no penalty can be enforced. The prosecutors would, I’m quite confident, win on appeal.
‘This happens in speeding cases, you get it in bus lane cases, there are a whole host of cases where the signage isn’t clear.
‘And then when somebody wants to challenge it, they invariably win because the signage doesn’t doesn’t fit the bill.’
This quandary was also identified by Edmund King, the president of the Automobile Association, who suggested that TfL could be swamped with driver complaints.
He told the newspaper: ‘If TfL does not send out warnings they will be deluged with complaints from drivers. If they turn down appeals to have fines cancelled, huge numbers will take their complaints to the traffic penalties tribunal.’
A TfL spokesman said: ‘All the signs needed for the enforcement of the scheme will be in place and the boundaries clearly signposted for residents.
‘The signage and level of information in the public domain means we expect drivers to be aware of the standards and the boundary. This means all non-compliant drivers are liable for the charge and if they fail to pay it within the appropriate amount of time, they will face a penalty charge.
‘National Highways, which manages the busiest roads into the capital, have worked with us to ensure drivers have advance warning of the expanded Ulez, and we have run a major communications campaign to make sure as many people are aware of the scheme as possible.’
How the Ultra Low Emission Zone has expanded across London throughout the years
Nearly nine out of 10 Ulez cameras have been vandalised in southeast London , according to an analysis of crowd-sourced data
Greater London Authority planners insist that nine in 10 cars and eight in 10 vans already meet the Ulez standards – covering all petrol vehicles from 2006 and diesel vehicles from 2016.
Local resistance to the plans has seen some Ulez cameras vandalised, as thousands of new units are installed in outer boroughs of the capital.
Gangs of so-called ‘blade runners’ have been cutting cables on newly installed cameras, or covering the lenses with stickers that read ‘FCUK KHAN’.
Nearly nine out of 10 Ulez cameras have been vandalised in southeast London, according to an analysis of crowd-sourced data.
The data shows that only 29 cameras out of 185 in Sydenham are working, only four are intact in Bromley and just one is working on the A225.
TfL has said the vandalism will not stop the Ulez changes going ahead next week as planned and that all vandalised cameras will be replaced or repaired.
A spokesperson added that more than 1,900 cameras are in place in outer London.
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