Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has been mired in chaos as nearly 70,000 fines have been written off by the city council.
Since the launch of the controversial scheme, almost 50,000 CAZ fines have been successfully challenged by drivers.
In addition, the council has given up on chasing around another 20,000 fines for non-payment.
The huge number of penalties cancelled by the authority raises questions about the running of the CAZ.
The number of fines overturned is only until the end of last year, meaning the actual total is likely even higher.
The fines that have only recently been appealed will still be processed.
This means that around 2,700 penalty charge notices (PCNs) have been cancelled on average every month since the launch of the CAZ in June 2021, and more are likely still being processed from the end of 2022.
Birmingham City Council said that in the 18-month period since the start of the enforcement of the Clean Air Zone, 69,114 penalty charge notices have been written off, which is around 6% of the total issued.
The city council has given up chasing around 20,000 fines that were never paid because of the resources and time needed to collect all the cash owed.
The reasons for the written-off fines include cases that have been challenged/appealed, cases where mitigation was accepted/discretion exercised, and cases where the council has been unable to collect payment or trace the registered keeper.
Despite criticism, the city council insists that the CAZ is having the desired impact by cutting emissions around the city centre.
Cars that do not meet emissions standards have to pay £8 a day to drive in the CAZ, with drivers who fail to pay the fee being hit with fines of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
Around 50,000 motorists are still being fined every month for misusing the CAZ, as people continue to be caught out in huge numbers, either ignoring the CAZ or not understanding how it works or where it operates.
Bosses have also had difficulties enforcing fines, with thousands simply refusing to pay. Only around 40% of penalties are paid within a month.
The city council is expected to make a £50 million profit from the zone by the end of 2023.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said, “The purpose of the Clean Air Zone is to improve air quality in the city centre.
Since its introduction, it has helped reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles that enter the zone every day. This is helping to improve air quality.”»Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone sees 6% of fines written off by city council«