Clean Air Zone (CAZ) heads up / watch out (1 Viewer)

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Dec 6, 2011
11,811
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Just for information for forum members:

Here is a "watch out" if you get a CAZ charge you are not expecting:-

Had a letter today stating from "Clean Air for Bristol" ( legit and not a scam). It stated the following,

" A vehicle with registration number ( our car ) has recently travelled through the Bristol CAZ. "
they got our details from DVLA and warned me that there will be charges from 28th November 22.

No issue with that as there is no charge to pay, "except" we have owned the vehicle for the past 4 years and it has never been close to the Bristol CAZ.

I checked with the kids to be sure that no one had "borrowed it"! while we were recently away. Nope! my next thought was, has someone cloned our number plate!!! So called the number supplied.

I was told by the person that took my call, that "their APNR cameras are having problems with certain registration numbers", and there have been a number of incidents like this":doh:. she apologised and told me they will make a note to make sure it does not happen again.:rolleyes:

Great stuff! faulty APNR identification and you risk a fine of £120 / £160 for non payment within the time allowed.

It appears that this call center deals with a number of locations where CAZ operates as i had to say which CAZ it was calling about and the problem is not just in Bristol.
 
Sep 17, 2017
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Just for information for forum members:

Here is a "watch out" if you get a CAZ charge you are not expecting:-

Had a letter today stating from "Clean Air for Bristol" ( legit and not a scam). It stated the following,

" A vehicle with registration number ( our car ) has recently travelled through the Bristol CAZ. "
they got our details from DVLA and warned me that there will be charges from 28th November 22.

No issue with that as there is no charge to pay, "except" we have owned the vehicle for the past 4 years and it has never been close to the Bristol CAZ.

I checked with the kids to be sure that no one had "borrowed it"! while we were recently away. Nope! my next thought was, has someone cloned our number plate!!! So called the number supplied.

I was told by the person that took my call, that "their APNR cameras are having problems with certain registration numbers", and there have been a number of incidents like this":doh:. she apologised and told me they will make a note to make sure it does not happen again.:rolleyes:

Great stuff! faulty APNR identification and you risk a fine of £120 / £160 for non payment within the time allowed.

It appears that this call center deals with a number of locations where CAZ operates as i had to say which CAZ it was calling about and the problem is not just in Bristol.
I worked on a scheme that used ANPR cameras in the West Midlands. The hardware was the same model that they were using for the Birmingham CAZ. Although we were using different firmware. The cameras were very accurate, more than 99.5% (it was probably much higher, but that's all we cared about when watching for congestion). But it wasn't 100%.

When they're doing enforcement, they'll have an image to check against. And you'd hope a human would do a sense check as mistakes will cost them lots of admin and potentially wasted court time. But for warning letters like this one, it's not worth checking. There number of mistakes will be low and there are few consequences from misreading, other than getting some people that don't even live in the area confused.
 
OP
OP
Phill D
Dec 6, 2011
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I worked on a scheme that used ANPR cameras in the West Midlands. The hardware was the same model that they were using for the Birmingham CAZ. Although we were using different firmware. The cameras were very accurate, more than 99.5% (it was probably much higher, but that's all we cared about when watching for congestion). But it wasn't 100%.

When they're doing enforcement, they'll have an image to check against. And you'd hope a human would do a sense check as mistakes will cost them lots of admin and potentially wasted court time. But for warning letters like this one, it's not worth checking. There number of mistakes will be low and there are few consequences from misreading, other than getting some people that don't even live in the area confused.
i understand your points.

I was completely taken back be the immediate response from the operative that there were problems with the accuracy with particular numbers.
before giving her my reg number , she said your number is likely to be a private plate! ( which it is ) and there in lies a problem with the system. her words not mine.
I did not expect such an open comment on poor accuracy.
 
Jul 6, 2009
1,875
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My sister got a parking ticket from York. She was at home in Harlow but because she could not prove it wasn’t her she had to pay the fine or go to court. thats the advantage of some dash cams and trackers. Our cars dash came stores 3 months and our vans tracker stores 6 months,you can look back at every trip time date and speed. Whilst in France they tried to do me for driving through a red light, it was some four months after it happened we were able. To show we had stopped at the light!!
 
Sep 17, 2017
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i understand your points.

I was completely taken back be the immediate response from the operative that there were problems with the accuracy with particular numbers.
before giving her my reg number , she said your number is likely to be a private plate! ( which it is ) and there in lies a problem with the system. her words not mine.
I did not expect such an open comment on poor accuracy.
Yep. A long time ago, as a fresh naive engineer, I worked on a project that did one of the first traffic surveys using video footage fed into a new fangled number plate reader. The DVLA then gave us the registered addresses and we then sent letters out asking people about their journey. I then spent the next month on the phone to field the thousands of confused and irate people...

One call, a very posh gentleman called me. He couldn't understand why he'd received a letter. His Rolls Royce had been parked up in the garage for weeks as he'd been using the Bentley. His number plate was H1. When I checked the footage, the computer had decided that a dirty mark, an aerial and it's shadow on the top of an HGV was the number plate H1... Thankfully they've got better since then.

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OP
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Phill D
Dec 6, 2011
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When I checked the footage, the computer had decided that a dirty mark, an aerial and it's shadow on the top of an HGV was the number plate H1... Thankfully they've got better since then.
Fortunately I don’t even aspire to be posh. 🤭
But clearly APNR still has work to do. 😉
 
Aug 26, 2008
4,808
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The CAZ may result in many older cars having cloned plates to escape fines.
 
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Phill D
Dec 6, 2011
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i wonder if they have sent warning letters to every car / vehicle owner that has been in Bristol city center recently as the charges do not start until end of the month.

if they have that's quite an admin load i would guess.
 
May 7, 2016
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Some people with personalised number plates fiddle around with the spacing. Perhaps this leads to the ANPR misreading it. Back in the summer the Police pulled a biker up for this on the A29, they decided to interview him outside our kitchen window. They very politely explained the problems it caused before issuing a ticket. They even had a pack of sample number plates with them and produced a bike one to help him understand.

It seemed to me that they had come well equipped for interviews like this. Bury Hill on the A29 is very popular with bikers. In the summer a speed camera van turns up for a few hours most weekends and perhaps they had found too many people getting away with speeding because their number plates could not be read.

Part of the problem is about noise, made by a few bikers using the hill for time trials. There is a good chance that they will soon be trialing a fixed decibel camera on the hill, aimed at reducing antisocial noise. Again they will probably want to be able to read the number plates. We already have fixed ANPR cameras on the A29.
 
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Phill D
Dec 6, 2011
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Ours is just 5 digits and correctly spaced, so misplaced digits are not the issue.

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Oct 18, 2022
1,428
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The CAZ may result in many older cars having cloned plates to escape fines.
Yes, happened to me when London Congestion Zone was introduced. I lived in Bristol and owned a classic Merc at the time. Some low life had obviously cloned my plates. Happened several times but thankfully no problem in resolving as the photo didn’t match the car.
 
Oct 12, 2009
10,986
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A Class N+B Arto 69GL
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Guigsy

I should be interested to know what an ANPR system would make of our Polish numberplate which is on a veteran vehicle so after the 5 alphanumeric symbols it has a depiction of a 1920s vintage car.

Of course these cities might not even pay to get access to the Polish registration system.
 
Feb 20, 2022
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Had this happen to me once ,rang them up and explained my vehicle had a tracker and could prove it was not my speeding vehicle .They did not even argue ,just quashed it .Cloned plates are more common than you think .
 
Aug 18, 2014
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16 years since restarting
Some people with personalised number plates fiddle around with the spacing. Perhaps this leads to the ANPR misreading it. Back in the summer the Police pulled a biker up for this on the A29, they decided to interview him outside our kitchen window. They very politely explained the problems it caused before issuing a ticket. They even had a pack of sample number plates with them and produced a bike one to help him understand.

It seemed to me that they had come well equipped for interviews like this. Bury Hill on the A29 is very popular with bikers. In the summer a speed camera van turns up for a few hours most weekends and perhaps they had found too many people getting away with speeding because their number plates could not be read.

Part of the problem is about noise, made by a few bikers using the hill for time trials. There is a good chance that they will soon be trialing a fixed decibel camera on the hill, aimed at reducing antisocial noise. Again they will probably want to be able to read the number plates. We already have fixed ANPR cameras on the A29.
Quite easy with the present rules to sidestep any prosecution.Remove the number plates. A C&U offence , not endorsable & last i looked a £60 fine,no points & 7 days to rectify & if brazen you can front them up until the last day .

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Sapper520

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Jan 22, 2020
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Took 4 years to convince a Debt collection agency that the parking ticket issued to a white Honda CBR600 Motorcycle was not my bike.

Yes I own a Honda, but mine is red, a CBF and 1000cc.

The ticket was issued in Abingdon, about 80 miles away, and I had my BF ticket to say at the time of issue I was on the Plymouth/ Santander ferry on our way to Spain. Didn’t stop them threatening court action and sending the boys around.🤣

Once couldn’t get out of Bristol Airport Long Stay Parking, having prepaid, the camera at the gate couldn’t identify my registration number. Took ages to get out.

Bristol are plastering the CAZ charges everywhere in the local area.
 
Last edited:
Sep 17, 2017
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A lot of foreign plates are easier to read than the UK spec lettering, especially in low light or with ANPR cameras. Their letters have non-ambiguous shaping to prevent a D from looking like an O or a G looking like a 6. It was heavily recommended to the DVLA that they do something similar when the plates changed format in 2001, but they ignored it. So it still causes issues now.
 

Nanniemate

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Oct 1, 2019
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Still dropping clangers and making it up as I go along
I once had a letter saying g I was snapped on a yellow box Marlborough Road London checked date and time in diary and yes could have been in Central London at that time problem was the registration number was personal car nit company car that confused me .called them up only to be told the car in the photo was a datsun. My car was a Renault and some who had transfured number from photo was a digit out. No charge and an apology.
 
Apr 24, 2012
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Same happened in Bath. Motorhome was in garage fir repair at the time so not us. Was it the garage? Raises doubts! No it wasn’t. took some sorting to realise it was ANPR and not plate cloning

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Jun 29, 2016
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There is a government petition going at the moment to abolish all caz's 😁
 
Oct 26, 2014
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These cameras are certainly not full proof, I had two payments taken from my Dart Charge account even though I’d not been over the Dartford crossing in two years
I have a private plate which is now on retention but up to a year ago I had it allocated to my Kia 4x4
N111SNS but a similar plate N11SNS had crossed the bridge twice and my account was debited
Wouldn’t have noticed except I had an email to say my account was getting low
Phoned them up and the operator initially refused to believe me until they eventually looked up the photo .
which turned out to be a dark Honda car
My Kia is white
They then candidly admitted that the camera was at fault

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Feb 5, 2014
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There is a government petition going at the moment to abolish all caz's 😁
I clicked on that link in order to read the petition and it says that I added my signature. What a con!

I would be interested in taking CAZs out of local control and placing the responsibility in the hands of the government: it’s them who are directing LAs to do this, thus ensuring that they don’t face criticism AND allowing a mishmash of regulation which confuses drivers.

ANNOYED! Gordon
 
Sep 17, 2017
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There is a government petition going at the moment to abolish all caz's 😁
Mmmm. Their argument is that we bought a car, so we should be able to use it. Not really a strong case.

Also, the national government were the ones that imposed emissions level limits to the local governments and then gave them to the tools to attempt to do something about it.
 

grumps147

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These cameras are certainly not full proof, I had two payments taken from my Dart Charge account even though I’d not been over the Dartford crossing in two years
I have a private plate which is now on retention but up to a year ago I had it allocated to my Kia 4x4
N111SNS but a similar plate N11SNS had crossed the bridge twice and my account was debited
Wouldn’t have noticed except I had an email to say my account was getting low
Phoned them up and the operator initially refused to believe me until they eventually looked up the photo .
which turned out to be a dark Honda car
My Kia is white
They then candidly admitted that the camera was at fault
Interesting that the camera takes the blame. Poor thing, all it does is obtain an image. Its the computer program's software that creates the digital image transfer into a number format that is to blame. As with all commercial activity where large volumes of data are processed as in road tolling systems, their is no human intervention to check the plate patch image and overview image against the DVLA record, probably because the volumes are such its impossible to do so. They rely on those affected incorrectly affected questioning it themslves. That is a commercial decision by the system operators.

The Data Commisioner has a lot to say about law enforcements accuracy in the use of cameras, CCTV and ANPR, where these images are checked before action. He is very quiet when it comes to these commercial uses accuracy checks which affect Joe Public much more than law enforcement does.
 

TerryL

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Mar 5, 2010
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Newcastle upon Tyne has just installed a CAZ but they state fines won't be issued for 12 months. Instead they will write to "offenders" pointing out that their vehicle is now subject to the CAZ regulations.
For the moment, however, it's not applicable to private cars but it's not clear if this includes motorhomes as it includes "light commercial vehicles" as liable. Mine is registered as a LPHG.

But unless I ever wanted to travel through Newcastle in the van it's easy to avoid, especially as the A1 Gateshead by-pass is now complete.

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