Driver hit with £540 fine after going through Clean Air Zone without bank card

Clive Harvey destroyed his bank card after falling victim to a scam – and claims this meant he could not pay Birmingham City Council before the penalty fees kicked in.

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Motorist slapped with fine after driving through Clean Air Zone

A motorist is outraged he has racked up £540 worth of Clean Air Zone charges after failing to pay the original cost over a bank card issue.

Clive Harvey, from Lichfield, claimed he fell victim to an attempted scam in December and had his card destroyed, according to Birmingham Live.

It took 10 working days for a new card to arrive, but Birmingham City Council only allows six days for payments to be made after a vehicle has entered the Clean Air Zone.

That meant Harvey could not pay three days’ worth of charges for using his car, £24, before being slapped with penalty fines.

Harvey, 39, who is a design consultant and owner of an engineering firm, had been traveling into Birmingham multiple times to see a client in December.

Clive Harvey is smoking as he owes £540 to Birmingham City Council in Clean Air Zone charges.

But he claimed despite explaining the situation, he was still hit with several fixed penalty notices.

After contacting the council for four months with no resolution, Harvey called on his local MP Michael Fabricant to back his cause.

The motorist said he believed the local authority was ignoring him on purpose.

“They don’t have an answerphone,” he said. “It just goes straight to a dead line.”

Clive claimed that when he eventually managed to get through to the local authority he was told by a member of staff that the council “had not even read the complaint”. That’s when he felt compelled to go to his PM .

But he has been told multiple times that nothing can be done. He even claimed he was told to go through debt collectors rather than the council as there was no exception to the payment rules.

Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone came into effect on June 1 2021 and charges started on June 14. The pollution-busting zone means cars, taxis, vans, lorries, buses and coaches face a daily charge for coming into the city center if they are not compliant with emissions standards and have not obtained an exemption.

The council website reads: “Please note you will not receive a notification or alert advising you that you have entered the zone and payment is due; you as a driver are fully responsible for understanding and managing all payments.

“If you do not pay during that allocated 13-day payment window you will be subject to a Penalty Charge Notice of £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.”

Because the issue has been going on for so long, Clive now owes almost £600. He last spoke to the council the week before Easter and was told once again that nothing could be done.

Despite being the victim of an attempted scam and awaiting a new card – meaning he wasn’t able to pay – BCC has been unwilling to drop the charges.

“When you appeal you lose the discount,” Clive said. “Then it goes up to £180 and if they reject your appeal you have to pay. My next point of call was to raise a Freedom of Information request asking for financial figures. It’s my honest opinion this is set up to fail. I feel like the victim of a con.”

Clive described himself as a “highly professional person” and said he believed other people would be struggling.

He added: “If I’m failing with this system then who else is? I was the victim of crime. It was a website handing over engineering documents. I quickly realized ‘this doesn’t seem right’ and did some more research and found out it was a scam.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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