BY IZZY WIGHTMAN
South London received the highest number of vehicle stings in the capital last year, after owners failed to pay their vehicle tax.
Nearly 50,000 fines, clamps or removals were made to motors in the area in 2018, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, with 29,235 of these in South East London and 19,303 in South West London.
Luxury cars, including an Alpha Romeo Giulietta, a 1980s convertible Porsche 911 and a Mini Cooper VK6-VK7 were also among 176 vehicles seized during three days in February this year, in the continued efforts of the DVLA to crack down on vehicle tax evasion.
These drivers are now the target of a new advertising campaign by the DVLA aimed at getting Londoners to license their vehicles, after the city was identified as one of the areas with the highest levels of vehicle tax evasion in the UK.
DVLA Head of Enforcement, Tim Burton, said: “This campaign has a clear message for anyone who flouts the law in this way – tax it or lose it.
“It’s never been easier to tax your car, so there really is no excuse. We would rather not have to clamp or remove vehicles, but this campaign highlights the consequences of not taxing a vehicle.
Having your vehicle clamped is expensive and inconvenient – and you could end up losing your car.”
By law, vehicles must have their license renewed every year or six months, including vehicles that have no tax paid on them.
The DVLA stressed the importance of this for road safety purposes and traceability, and for keeping accurate records. A motorist is charged a £100 release fee for a clamp on an untaxed vehicle.
If the motorist cannot prove the vehicle has been taxed, they are charged another fee of £160 but this can be refunded if they can show the vehicle has been taxed within 15 days.
If the driver fails to pay the release fee within 24 hours, the DVLA will seize the vehicle and the fee will rise to £200, with an additional storage charge of £21 per day.
A total of 27,605 cars were clamped and 94,550 fines or penalties issued in London last year. Drivers who pay by Direct Debit should receive reminders and renewal notices from the DVLA, and they have the option of paying a lump sum or spreading the cost in payments across the year.
The campaign runs until the end of March 2019 and motorists can go online to tax a vehicle or check whether their vehicle tax is up to date at www.gov.uk/dvla/taxyourvehicle.