Fines issued to disabled Enfield woman visiting medical centre in LTN cancelled

Lar Yu was attending a medical appointment at Bounds Green Health Centre when she inadvertently contravened new low-traffic neighbourhood driving restrictions, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Lar Yu was on her way to Bounds Green Health Centre when she contravened new LTN traffic rules and later received a PCN
Lar Yu was on her way to Bounds Green Health Centre when she contravened new LTN traffic rules and later received a PCN

Haringey Council has cancelled two fines issued to a disabled Enfield woman who drove to a medical appointment in a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN).

Lar Yu, who lives in Oakwood, said she was left feeling stressed and “mentally drained” after receiving the fines for inadvertently contravening LTN rules while travelling to and from a physiotherapy appointment at Bounds Green Health Centre in Gordon Road.

Lar, who has an artificial leg and suffers from back pain, had waited more than a year for the appointment, which was finally scheduled for August.

Unaware of the LTN and failing to spot the signs in the drizzling rain, she received two penalty charge notices (PCNs), each telling her to pay £130.

Lar said she felt “very drained” mentally and “very sad” after receiving the fines, adding: “I’m trying to be independent and do things to help myself, and this happens. When you are vulnerable, it is such a big effort.”

She added: “They should not put this type of thing where people are going to [get] treatment. I was able to appeal – but there are people who can’t do it.”

The Bounds Green LTN, touted by Haringey Council as improving road safety and boosting air quality, was introduced in August last year. It is one of three LTNs to be rolled out in the borough.

Lar said that after receiving the tickets, she contacted the council and, after waiting for more than an hour, was advised she could appeal against the penalties. But she said her appeal letter was not delivered, meaning the PCNs could be increased to £195 each because she failed to pay within 28 days.

Lar said the final total “really scared me”, adding that the stress from the fines caused her “so many other issues”, including sleeplessness, on top of the pain she deals with as a result of her conditions. She said LTN signs should be made clearer so it is obvious which routes people cannot take.

The council introduced exemptions for Blue Badge holders on day one of the schemes going live, enabling permit holders living inside or on the immediate boundary of an LTN to apply to travel through most camera-enforced filters. It also introduced exemptions on day one for other categories, including an ‘individual circumstance’ category.

Mike Hakata, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action, environment and transport, said: “Each low-traffic neighbourhood filter is clearly signposted, and compliance is high and improving. When a PCN is issued, there is a consistent appeal process in place.

“We will always assess whether there are extenuating circumstances that warrant the cancellation of the PCN, and these cases are no different. Having carefully considered the mitigating factors, we will be writing to Lar Yu to cancel the fines.

“We appreciate that driving is a necessity for some. That’s why we introduced exemptions from day one of the LTN schemes going live, including an individual circumstance category which covers Blue Badge holders living outside our borough, such as Lar Yu. If she is likely to need to access the Bounds Green Health Centre again, we would strongly recommend she applies for an exemption.

“From September, all Blue Badge holders living in Haringey have been able to apply to travel through the borough’s three low-traffic neighbourhoods under new rules to support people with disabilities.”

This article has been corrected to state that Blue Badge exemptions for the LTN were available when the scheme was launched and to correct the spelling of Lar’s name.

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