FOI request detail

PCNS for Foreign Registered Vehicles

Request ID: FOI-0137-2324
Date published: 04 May 2023

You asked

How much you're paying to employ foreign companies to track the owners of foreign cars. 3) How much you are paying to employ third-party companies in Germany and Turkmenistan (when my letters were sent from).

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0137-2324

Thank you for your request received on 4 April 2023 asking for information about the enforcement companies used in penalty charge notice (PCN) enforcement of foreign vehicles.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

Foreign registered vehicles are subject to both the Congestion Charge and the ULEZ in the same way UK registered vehicles are. The need for foreign vehicles to pre-register for our clean air zones has been in place since the Low Emission Zone was introduced in 2008.

In order to establish whether a vehicle is compliant with the ULEZ emission standards we predominantly use the vehicle data held by the DVLA. In most cases we can establish a vehicle’s compliance status by the date it was first registered as new.

For non-UK registered vehicles we do not have access to the vehicle emissions/compliance data held by the overseas equivalents of the DVLA and therefore we have set up an enquiry service for motorists using a foreign registered vehicle within the ULEZ. This allows them to register the vehicle with us and confirm that it’s compliant prior to driving within the ULEZ. Once registered no penalties will be issued.  

If a foreign registered vehicle isn’t registered with us, or is non-compliant, and is used in the ULEZ then the vehicle details are passed to our service provider Euro Parking Collections (EPC). On receipt of the information EPC will then endeavour to obtain the vehicle details from the local vehicle licensing authority with a view to establishing compliance or issuing a penalty. If the vehicle is found to be compliant the records are updated and no penalties are issued. 

You asked:

How much you're paying to employ foreign companies to track the owners of foreign cars?

We are not obliged to provide you with the details of payments that specifically relate to the recovery of penalties issued for non-compliance with the Congestion Charging and ULEZ schemes as this information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2). In this instance the section 43(2) exemption has been applied as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice our commercial interests, as well as those of EPC. There are other companies who provide similar products and disclosure of this information could enable a competitor to work out the 'unit price’ we are paying them for their range of services, which could hinder the ability of EPC plc to competitively tender for similar contracts, as well as hinder TfL’s ability to negotiate the best value for money for similar services in the future.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, particularly where the expenditure of public money is concerned, but in this instance the public interest in ensuring that we are able to obtain the best value for public money outweighs the general public interest in increasing transparency of our processes.

How much you are paying to employ third-party companies in Germany and Turkmenistan (when my letters were sent from).

TfL do not pay third-party companies in Germany and Turkmenistan. EPC may however use service providers who distribute mail through those countries.

Please note your first question is not a request for recorded information, therefore we have not provided a response. Please continue to contact the Road User Charging team if you require further information on this.
If this is not the information you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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