When I wrote about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) I was a little unprepared for the sheer volume of responses I’d get from readers.

To say the article touched a nerve is something of an understatement. Check it out here if you missed it

One of the biggest questions I received was how to appeal a fine/charge. So here’s my guide.

How to complain about a ULEZ fine

It’s fair to say that ULEZ has been exceptionally controversial. In fact, the issue has been blamed for Labour’s failure (just) to capture Boris Johnson’s old parliamentary seat. As you may have heard, the ULEZ has been expanded across all of London’s boroughs from Enfield in the north to Croydon in the south, Hillingdon in the west, and Havering in the east. Cameras have been vandalised, rather hyperbolic protests have occurred but the charge is in operation, like it or not.

So what are people complaining about?

Types of ULEZ complaints

In the main, there are a few patterns emerging from the original ULEZ zone:

  • Disputes over whether your vehicle is ULEZ compliant.
  • People being charged despite having paid the charge.
  • People registered for autopay who still get charged.
  • Disputes over unclear ULEZ boundary zones and wonky cameras.
  • Technical errors (people being fined due to technical problems and mistakes).

What do I need to do to make a successful ULEZ complaint?

Think if a ULEZ complaint as like appealing a parking fine. You have to turn detective a bit and gather your evidence.

It shouldn’t be necessary, but as a general rule, take screenshots of payments or autopay confirmations as and when you make them. Many readers are telling me these have proved invaluable where records of payments are missing, for whatever reason. Don’t forget that you can use bank, credit card or e-payment services to prove that money has left your account too. If a payment hasn’t been taken, then ask Transport for London (TfL) if anyone else has reported problems that day – and even if they say no, ask them to address this in writing as part of your complaint.

If you’re disputing the visibility of cameras or boundary lines, then get on out there to the ‘scene of the crime’ and take some pics. If anything has obscured warnings about the zone or damaged cameras so they might not be giving clear or correct images, take some snaps. Please be careful.

Pop online too and see if anyone else is reporting similar problems. There are forums, Facebook groups and community groups aplenty. Watch out for some of the more bonkers ones.

If you’ve just made an honest mistake, it’s worth a punt too. Explain your personal circumstances and see if TfL is feeling benevolent.

If you are disputing your vehicle is subject to the charge, then start by checking here before you dispute the fine

How to complain

Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) – the fines – are pretty astounding for ULEZ breaches. £180, reduced to £90 if you pay within 14 days.

You’ve got 28 days to cough up. Failure to do so results in the issuing of a ‘charge certificate’ – that’ll be £270. Yikes. More here

If you want to make a complaint then you have 28 days to file it. You can get started online here

You can also make your complaint in writing to:

Congestion Charging,
PO Box 340,
Darlington,
DL1 9PZ

If you register on time the fine should be frozen while the matter is investigated.

Should the complaint be rejected, you’ll be sent a ‘notice of rejection and a form to appeal, along with the details of the independent Road User Charging Adjudicators (RUCA).

Failing that though, you could take your complaint to the London Tribunal. It’s worth doing to, as just under half of appeals succeeded in 2020/21. Here’s how to contact them

Other complaints

If you want to complain about a service or non-fine-related issue then Transport for London have a (rather dry) overview of the complaints process here

The slightly less boring version goes like this.

You can call 0343 222 2222. Or make a complaint online

Alternatively you can write to:

Customer Services Manager
Congestion Charging
PO Box 344
Darlington DL1 9QE

TfL should address your complaint within 10 working days. I’d ask for a written response in case you want to take it to the next level. The response will give you an address where you can appeal. I’d take some time to tackle the points that TfL have raised in their initial decision. You can ask them for clarity too if things don’t make sense. That’s another 10 working days. Failing that, there’s one last final review which takes… you guessed it, 10 days.

If you’re still not happy – and man people aren’t, you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). Write to them here:

The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
Coventry CV4 0EH

Featured in Times Money Mentor – Martyn James

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