Sheffield Council refunds due to printing error could total half a million pounds

Sheffield Council could pay out nearly half a million pounds in refunds because of a printing error on Clean Air Zone fines.

Drivers faced with expensive penalty charge notices in thousands of cases are being refunded because of a printing mistake on the documents made by a third-party supplier when the clocks changed forward.

There were 4,700 affected journeys which all took place between Sunday, March 26 and Thursday, April 6 with an extra case on April 12.

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The most polluting taxis, vans, lorries, buses and coaches driving into the city centre or on the ring road are charged either £10 or £50 a day, depending on the size of the vehicle.

Sheffield Clean Air ZoneSheffield Clean Air Zone
Sheffield Clean Air Zone

Failure to pay leads to a penalty charge notice of £120 which increases to £180 if not paid within 28 days.

The total cost of penalty charge notices which could be refunded is £446,169, the council has since revealed.

A council spokesperson said those who already paid the penalty charge notice will be refunded and those with outstanding fines will have new ones issued with the option to pay only the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge if paid within 13 days.

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The total number of CAZ charges during the affected period was £59,450.

Those who drove within the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) during this period and paid their CAZ charge were not impacted. 

Councillor Joe Otten, chair of the street scene committee, said affected drivers were contacted this week by letter which included details of a dedicated phone line and email address for enquiries.

He said: “We were disappointed to learn of this technical error and staff from our third-party suppliers and the council and have been working to rectify the issue.

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“We want to take this opportunity to apologise to all those that are impacted and for the inconvenience associated with this issue.”

Coun Ben Miskell, chair of the transport committee, added: “While this issue is extremely disappointing, and we had anticipated some teething issues, we have been assured this error has been rectified and we will be closely monitoring the CAZ penalty charge notice systems going forward. We share the frustration we know those affected will feel with this.”