92,000 Fines Ignored as Drivers Defy Car Charge; TRANSPORT FOR LONDON THREATENS TO SEIZE AND CRUSH FEE-DODGERS' CARS

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

ONE in three congestion-charge fines have not been paid three months after the scheme began, figures reveal today.

Transport for London, which oversees the scheme, is threatening to crack down on drivers who refuse to pay the [pounds sterling]5a-day charge by clamping or towing away their vehicles. Drivers who persistently flout the charge could have their cars seized and crushed.

According to figures presented to TfL's board, 244,170 penalty tickets were issued in the three months between the scheme's launch on 17 February and mid-May.

Of these, 92,369 tickets have been settled by drivers paying up, while a further 59,183 have led to representations being made to TfL. In two thirds of these cases, the fine has been overturned.

But this means that 92,618 tickets remain unpaid - either because motorists have not yet taken any action or because they simply refuse to pay up.

TfL says it cannot be sure how many motorists fall into a hard core of nonpayers but its board members are already calling for offending vehicles to be crushed to set an example to wouldbe fine evaders.

Mr Hendy, the official running the congestion charge, said "we are getting close" to destroying vehicles, though no date had been set. …

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