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Incorrect ULEZ Fines Plague Hundreds of Drivers, Blamed on Number Plate Mix-Up

Car experts are sounding the alarm as hundreds of drivers find themselves unfairly charged and fined within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) due to a number plate mix-up, raising concerns about the accuracy of the system.

In the past three months, VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less team has been inundated with inquiries from drivers who have received erroneous ULEZ fines. The team has been working diligently to assist clients in challenging and overturning these charges, which they argue were unjustly issued.

The ULEZ recently expanded to cover Greater London, demarcated by the M25 motorway, imposing emissions-based charges on non-compliant vehicles. Launched in 2020, the system is designed to target vehicles that do not meet emission standards.

In June, around 4,000 ULEZ fines were reportedly issued daily. Plates4Less experts claim that many of these fines were unjust, primarily because Transport for London (TfL) has been slow to update its vehicle database from DVLA records, which accurately link number plates to vehicle details.

The experts assert that if TfL updated its records daily, they would have access to information confirming the ULEZ compliance of these vehicles. However, because of this lag in updates, the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras rely on a basic non-DVLA database.

This basic database determines a vehicle’s age based on the age indicator of the number plate. If a vehicle’s number plate suggests it’s older than 2006 for petrol cars or 2015 for diesel cars, TfL appears to automatically issue a charge, even if it is erroneous.

To assist motorists in challenging unfair charges, VRM Swansea’s Plates4Less, number plate and motoring experts, have created a helpful guide. This template can be used to contest mistaken ULEZ charges or fines issued by TfL or other authorities.

Antony Clark of Plates4Less explained, “As a trusted supplier of private number plates, people often come to us with their questions, and we’re happy to help. We have found that Transport for London is not updating their vehicles database from DVLA records often enough”.

“We contacted TFL on behalf of our clients and were pleased to discover that there’s a super easy fix to this issue. As long as people send Transport for London a copy of their V5 Registration Certificate when they get a charge, TfL should be able to investigate and cancel the charges and any subsequent fine.” 

Antony assured: “We’ve included an email template for challenging inaccurate charges in our free guide, alongside other useful information about ULEZ and Clean Air zones.”

The guide, including an email template for challenging inaccurate charges, is accessible online at This guide is the latest addition to Plates4Less’ resources, which offer assistance to individuals interested in private plates or motorists in general.

ULEZ has been a contentious issue, even for residents within the zone who are not exempt from costs. The most effective way to avoid charges or fines is to drive a vehicle that complies with ULEZ requirements. However, this isn’t always feasible due to the cost of electric vehicles and sometimes confusing rules, resulting in a common grievance even before its expansion.

Antony added, “The issue remains that the system isn’t perfect and the database updates slowly, which is why some motorists who are driving compliant vehicles are receiving charges and fines that they shouldn’t be. This solution proposed by Plates4Less should allow Transport for London to update their files, solving the problem.

“At Plates4Less, we’ve seen the many ways that a new number plate can benefit drivers, and ULEZ shouldn’t get in the way of that. We hope our guide will help motorists understand how to navigate ULEZ, and avoid unnecessary fines.”

VRM Swansea – Plates4Less is a well-established agency for buyers and sellers of private number plates in the UK, boasting over 65 million registrations on its books. The company has been trading since 1997 and holds more 5-star Trustpilot reviews than any other agency in its field. Despite its name, Plates4Less achieved the UK record for negotiating the sale of the most expensive private number plate in the country, exceeding £600,000 in 2022.

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