Bristol CAZ Cameras Can’t Read Number Plates Correctly
They say the camera never lies, but a recent fiasco shows that they can certainly make mistakes. Hundreds of drivers have received warning letters for driving in Bristol’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) despite some of them never having been to the city. It seems that some of the ANPR cameras installed to enforce the scheme are faulty and unable to read number plates with certain combinations of digits, especially those containing the letter ‘Y’.
Bristol City Council began sending the letters on October 31st after data was collected from the CAZ scheme during September. The drivers of vehicles that exceed the emissions limits are advised that they are not being fined on this occasion, but warned that they would face a penalty if they drive in the CAZ after the scheme comes into force on November 28th.
However, motorists from as far afield as Wales, Merseyside, Yorkshire, Kent, and County Durham, who have never been near Bristol, have received the warnings. One driver from County Durham said his van had never left the county, so the closest he’d been to Bristol is 280 miles.
Some drivers have been left distressed by the letters thinking that their number plates had been cloned. A woman from West Wales, worried her registration number was cloned, said she’d had to take a day off and spent hours making phone calls and visiting the police station only to find out it was down to the faulty cameras. She was told by a council employee that the council had received hundreds of complaints.
Ian Hughes from Merseyside is demanding £300 pounds in compensation from BCC for all the time he had to waste contacting two police forces and the DVLA over his ‘cloned’ number plates. He then learnt that it is down to ANPR cameras which can’t read the letter ‘Y’. The fuming driver said, “I’ve never been to Bristol in my life and certainly will never go. I feel sorry for the people of Bristol having such a bunch of clowns running their city"
The council has told drivers that, if you received a warning, but you weren't in Bristol in September, ignore the letter.
Different Clean Air Zone Rules for the Same Vehicles
The letters targeting innocent drivers aren’t the only thing upsetting Bristol’s motorists. When you visit the government’s online CAZ checker to find out if you have to pay the £9.00 CAZ fee, you might not get the result you expected, as one driver pointed out on BCC’s Facebook CAZ post.
If you enter the registration FD65 XGU, you’ll find there’s no charge. But entering the number plate CN15 YTB tells you the £9.00 fee will be applied. Yet both of these vehicles are black 4x4 Dacia Dusters with the same diesel engine, and from the same model year. No wonder drivers are getting upset!
Personalised CAZ Number Plates
If you’re thinking about buying a personalised number plates, you might want to choose one without a ‘Y’ if you live in Bristol. Alternatively, you could show your support for the clean air zone with an appropriate number from CarReg, such as ‘CAZ 51’, ‘CAZ 8314’, ‘AA16 CAZ’ or one of the many others we have available. One of our clients "Cazzo" have purchased over 80 personalised number plates from CarReg, all with "CAZ"!