British expat pressured by Ulez debt collectors to pay £865 fine despite driving a compliant car

Ulez sign

The Ulez expansion took place in August this year

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 26/10/2023

- 11:27

One of the Ulez letters he received was from Turkmenistan

A British expat who has not lived in the UK for almost 10 years said he was hunted by Ulez debt collectors even though his car met the emissions standards.

Marcus, a 36-year-old living in the Netherlands, said he had received letters from three different countries telling him to pay a fine for London's Ultra Low Emission Zone.

He claimed that warning letters had been sent to him from the UK, Germany and even Turkmenistan calling on him to pay an £865 fine - or almost €1,000.

London’s controversial Ulez scheme was extended in August 2023 with Mayor Sadiq Khan highlighting the benefits it presents to cutting harmful emissions.

WATCH NOW: Tank drivers through central London to protest Ulez expansion

Around 700,000 extra drivers are included in the zone, with non-compliant vehicles facing a £12.50 daily charge for driving inside Greater London.

Marcus said he travels to the UK around three or four times a year and has slammed Transport for London for “wasting time” tracking people abroad.

The driver said the Ulez charge reminded him of the BBC TV licence, claiming that people are forced to pay or prove their innocence.

He continued, saying: “I thought there’s not a chance I’m going to respond to you. You can waste taxpayers’ money if you like chasing after me and countless people abroad.

“Last year I got three letters in the post to my address in the Netherlands from TfL demanding essentially that payment was made and also saying I had made previous notices of fines.

“It was the first time I'd seen them. They were related to three different times I had been to London,” he told MailOnline.

Marcus, who works as a medic, claimed the letters were coming from a third-party company in Germany, Turkmenistan and Birmingham.

He admitted that he responded to the German letter, telling the company that the fine was pointless because his car was Ulez compliant.

The charges were eventually removed when he challenged TfL, but he claims they did not apologise and insisted he had to register his foreign vehicle the next time he visits London to avoid the fines.

The Transport for London website states that vehicles registered outside the UK still need to meet emissions standards, urging motorists to check their vehicle.

Once they have registered, their vehicle will inform them if they are compliant with the Ulez, Low Emission Zone, as well as charges from the Congestion Charge and Direct Vision Standard HGV Safety Permit.

Drivers must register their vehicles with TfL if it is listed as not meeting Ulez standards but can provide evidence that it does meet emissions requirements.

One European driver was hit with a fine of almost £11,000 after he drove his French rental car in the capital across the span of a few days.

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: “As the DVLA can only provide data on UK-registered vehicles, we are unable to automatically tell if foreign-registered vehicles are compliant with the Ulez.


Ulez sign

Sadiq Khan has praised the environmental impact of the Ulez scheme


“That's why we ask drivers of vehicles based abroad to pre-register for the Ulez. If a driver has received a PCN they don't think is right, then we always ask them to contact us so we can cancel any incorrect fines, as we did for [Marcus].”

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