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Beware when driving in London

Beware if you are driving in London these days, it could be expensive as you may not realise you are racking up penalty charges.

I got stung for £65 the other day while on a dash to pick my daughter up after she broke her arm in a fall and brought her back to Leicestershire for a spot of being looked after.

Following my SatNav I left my normal route around the North Circular and headed through Hammersmith towards Wandsworth Bridge. No problems, I thought, apart from negotiating various 20mph speed restrictions that turn up with minimum warning in the unlikeliest of places. A section of the North Circular is 20mph, amazingly, although to be fair at times it would be a godsend to be able to do 10mph.

Three weeks later, ironically as I arrived home from taking my daughter back after her convalescence, a penalty notice was awaiting.

Apparently, I had entered an area forbidden to motor vehicles. A photograph was attached but I didn’t seem to be breaking any rules there was a centre lane marked Bus Only but I was following the arrows on the road to use the left-hand lane.

I checked on Google Street View and it looked like I had a clear case of innocence. Then my daughter spotted two yellow notices above that lane on the penalty notice photograph that had obviously been erected after the last Google camera went through.

It was now one of those streets where only locally registered vehicles are allowed even though it was a wide avenue. I was in the wrong, but only technically in my view. The notice was tiny and not clear especially when you are concentrating on driving and being bombarded with 20mph signs and ULEZ warnings (that’s Ultra Low Emission Zone).

It feels like motorists are being lured into a series of traps – tax traps.

London councils claim environmental responsibility. The ultimate aim is to deter residents and visitors from using cars, although a utopia where everyone has a bicycle seems just a fantasy. Realism will probably click in when the London economy starts to stall.

So, the plan is either to tax the motorist still further or to clear the roads of cars. My plan is to reduce my tax burden and fulfil the councils’ dream of getting rid of motor vehicles…I simply won’t go anywhere near the place except in extreme circumstances.

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