Transport for London has had to temporarily switch off a ULEZ camera and refund 900 drivers after it repeatedly snared motorists who hadn’t actually crossed into the city.
Harrow Council asked TfL to urgently look into the positioning of boundary cameras after receiving multiple reports of drivers being mistakenly charged at one spot in the North West London borough.
In August, the Ultra Low Emission Zone was expanded to outer London meaning motorists in all 32 boroughs will be charged £12.50 per day if they drive polluting vehicles. One of the new boundary lines now splits the borough of Harrow in two.
Residents have been complaining that they have received warning letters and charges from TfL for driving through the Old Redding junction towards Common Road, which falls outside the expanded zone.
Harrow Council’s leadership called the implementation a “disaster for people” and urged TfL to rectify the problem. The transport authority has since switched off and repositioned the camera.
Speaking at a recent full council meeting, deputy leader Cllr Marilyn Ashton criticised the scheme for being “badly implemented”, calling it an “unfair tax” on drivers.
She said: “We in Harrow have one particular borough, Hertfordshire, which abuts the northern boundary. Most of it is in Stanmore ward, some of it just goes into Harrow Weald, and there are severe difficulties.”
She added: “People have been photographed, unfortunately, driving along Old Redding and turning left into Common Road. A lady was telling me she had been charged £12.50 and she couldn’t understand why because she was driving on a non-ULEZ road.”
Cllr Ashton claims another resident informed her that she lives in Hertfordshire, meaning she can’t access the scrappage scheme, and drives to her work at Heathrow Airport. Due to her shift pattern, she has to pay £25 a time because her commute goes over two days.”
Cllr Ashton said: “The conversations were enlightening and people were really upset. […] I just think this is a complete disaster for people. It’s not thought through properly, it’s not implemented correctly, there’s all sorts of problems now with the anomalies of Brockley Hill, which is not in ULEZ but there’s cameras everywhere.”
TfL has confirmed that the camera at the junction was in the wrong position. It claims the owners of 927 vehicles have subsequently been refunded because of the error and given assurances that all boundary cameras have now been checked and are positioned correctly.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We apologise for this error. Unfortunately this camera was incorrectly positioned. It was switched off once we were informed of the error and has been repositioned. We have refunded any charges that were wrongly issued.”