Fight Against Unfair Fines By Councils

Have you ever received a PCN from a Local Council?

Did you believe the penalty was unfair? Did your appeal fail?

I am currently fighting Westminster Council against a PCN issued for Turning Left out of Denman Street into Shaftesbury Avenue, London. It transpires that in 2017 over 13,000 PCN’s were issued raising £700,000 despite the fact that it is illegal for councils to use such enforcement purely for fiscal reasons.

In my opinion this particular junction is badly signposted and is unfit for purpose for a number of reasons: –

There are only 4 signs indicating direction of travel, 2 of which are easily mistaken for “one way” signs the other 2 being a green arrow on traffic signals (see photos below). None of the signs are easily visible and green arrows not visible at all when lights on red. There are no advance warning signs, road markings or supplementary plates instructing ahead only.

Traffic is allowed to travel along Shaftesbury Ave in both directions, but not when exiting Denman St so there is no obvious reason for this restriction. On the nearby Gt. Russell St (a similar type of junction) where only 40 PCN’s were issued in 2017 there are signs clearly indicating no left or right turns so why not on Denman Street?

It is a fact that councils rely on motorists just to pay the fine, and apart from the appeals system there is no way of questioning whether a junction is correctly signposted. This is just one example of how councils make money by putting in artificial restrictions which are then badly signposted. Other examples in London that the ABD reported on in August were the London Borough of Hackney where left turns off Mare Street in certain hours are banned, the closure of roads in Croydon around schools and in the City of London at Bank Junction, but there are no doubt lots of other examples around the country.

It’s time therefore for us motorists to get together and fight these unfair penalties, so if you have been fined at this junction or anywhere else where you feel there has been an injustice then please contact John Leak using this ABD London contact page (messages will be forwarded to me if you mention my name):

John Leak


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Sadiq Khan Decides PCNs Will Increase

Back in September 2017 Transport for London (TfL) announced a consultation on proposed increases in the level of PCN charges. They proposed to increase the standard charge for not paying the Congestion Charge (a.k.a. Tax), and for red route and other infringements, to £160 from £130. That’s a 23% increase which is much higher than inflation of course.

As we said at the time, this looks like part of the Mayor’s strategy to make life more and more difficult for the average motorist as a very high proportion of infringements that result in PCNs are accidental or from ignorance by drivers rather than deliberate avoidance. In addition it will also help the Mayor’s budget which he continues to have problems with due to unwise past decisions.

Sadiq Khan has now decided to proceed with the proposals as they stand. The public consultation results show a lot of opposition (the full report on that is available here: ). There were 7,411 responses to the consultation (including one from the ABD of course). Many of them came from central London boroughs but there were a large number from outside London also.

TfL analysed the main issues raised by respondents and there were over 4,000 which criticised the proposals on various grounds. Only 265 responses were supportive of the increase, with another 325 making alternative suggestions. In reality that demonstrates there was widespread opposition to the change from the general public and even among “stakeholders” a number of concerns were expressed. The lack of data to support the proposal was also criticised.

But Sadiq Khan and TfL have rejected all these comments and are going ahead regardless. That’s how democracy works in London. The Mayor decides he needs some more money, does a token “consultation” and then does what he proposed in the first place. It’s called a dictatorship.

The Congestion Charge

One of the interesting comments in the report in response to criticism of Mr Khan’s motives for increasing the charge was that £1.9 billion in net revenue was generated by the Congestion Charge over the last fourteen years. This was fed into “on going investment in the Capital’s transport infrastructure” it says, but then goes on to say that £1.5 billion of that was spent on improvements to the bus network. In other words, the vast majority of the income surplus was used to subsidise the losses on London buses where usage continues to fall.

So motorists (and goods vehicle owners) are continuing to pay through the nose to subsidise public transport and other programmes from which they get no benefit. Instead of funding for road network improvements, all we get is funding to make it worse – such as the millions spent on cycle superhighways.

Roger Lawson


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Proposal to Increase PCN Cost

Transport for London (TfL) have announced proposals to increase the cost of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from £130 to £160. That is the charge payable when you don’t pay the Congestion Charge (a.k.a. tax) or infringe the Red Route rules.

They claim the number of people incurring PCNs has been increasing, particularly those who are repeat offenders (64% of Congestion Charge infringers and 38% of Red Route infringers). They claim increasing the PCN cost would reduce the number by providing a stronger deterrent but provide no evidence for that claim.

It is possible that repeat offenders have increased simply because TfL do not manage to collect the PCN charge – they provide no data on this in the consultation which as usual with recent TfL consultations is very poor. It does not provide the information required to make an informed response.

One reason for the increase in Congestion Charge PCNs may simply be that people now have more difficulty in paying it since the number of payment methods have been reduced over the years since introduction, or that TfL are not promoting the need to pay as actively.

But it is wrong that the increase of 23% in the PCN cost is much higher than could be justified by general price inflation since the last increase. This just looks like part of the Mayor’s strategy to make life more and more difficult for the average motorist as a very high proportion of infringements that result in PCNs are accidental or from ignorance by drivers rather than deliberate avoidance.

That explains why TfL collected income of £168 million from Congestion Charge infringements and £35 million in Red Route infringements last year. That’s surely enough!

The ABD has already responded to this consultation but anyone who drives in London should also do so as soon as possible. Go here for more information and a simple on-line response form you can use: . DO MAKE SURE YOU OBJECT!

Roger Lawson