‘I got lost driving in London and it cost me £800 thanks to Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ’

A pensioner from Norwich who got lost in London during the rush hour was slapped wth ULEZ fines in excess of £800.

Roger Watts, 82, was on the way to Dorset when his sat nav directed him into the capital where he spent hours trying to get out of London.

By the time he finally got himself out of the city, he had cost himself a fortune.

Roger said: “I haven’t been in London since the 70s, so when I got lost, I just didn’t have the experience to get out.

“I ended up going through three ULEZ zones!”

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The controversial Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) scheme was introduced by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to reduce air pollution in the capital.

It requires vehicles to meet certain emissions standards or pay a daily charge of £12.50 when driving within the zone.

Those that don’t pay face fines of up to £180.

Roger started his journey in Norwich, Norfolk in his 2009 plate Seat Altea, to collect a caravan in Dorset.

He explained his sat nav played up and took him through London. By the time he saw the ULEZ signs he was stuck in traffic and couldn’t get out.

In frustration, Roger stated what should have been a four-hour journey took nine hours and £300 worth of diesel.

Three weeks later he received a letter confirming the charges – which he has since tried appealing.

As he didn’t pay within the grace period, London Transport has increased his fines to £810 which he says he can’t afford.

Roger said: “I’ve been told the fines will keep going up, so it’s not finished yet.

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“The only thing I can do is try and get some help, so I’ve been to Citizens Advice who have given me some contact details for a legal team.

“It’s very stressful as I can’t raise the sort of cash needed to pay and it’s taking up so much of my time trying to sort this. However, I’m going to fight it to the end – these big companies assume no one can touch them – but they’ll have to take this all the way.”

The scheme has been criticised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as well as opposition Keir Starmer, both saying the scheme will hit families hard.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy, said: “The ULEZ is vital in tackling the triple threats of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion, and will ensure millions more people can breathe cleaner air.

“Thousands die prematurely each year as a result of toxic pollution and it causes children to grow up with stunted lungs and increases the risk of dementia in older people.

“Those outside the London boundary will also benefit, with drivers outside of the capital shifting to cleaner vehicles that meet the standards. This includes people living and working near Heathrow, which has some of the capital’s most toxic air.”

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