MORE than 300 motorists are facing a £90 fine and possible court action for debt recovery after failing to pay a penalty for crossing York's Lendal Bridge.

Bailiffs could be employed to take on the debt recovery, says City of York Council, adding:  "This is standard practice."

Director Darren Richardson said that drivers who received a penalty charge notice (pcn) for crossing the bridge when cars were banned under the authority's trial closure scheme had 28-days to make the payment of £60, reducing to £30 if paid within 14 days.

However, PCNs still unpaid after 28 days might result in the council taking action to recover the outstanding amount.

"This starts with the issue of a 'Charge Notice', at which time the amount owed increases initially to £90," he said. "We would advise anyone who receives a PCN, at any stage of the process, to deal with it promptly to avoid charges escalating further."

He stressed that the purpose of the trial was not to generate revenue, but reduce traffic going over the bridge and through the city centre.

The council said that to date, around 350 Charge Certificates had been issued, but no recovery action had been undertaken.

News of the £90 fines emerged after a motorist with leukaemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complained to The Press that he had received one.

Geoffrey Brundle, from near Whitby, said he had to leave early for home after visiting relatives at the Queens' Hotel last September because his oxygen supply was getting low, and he was fined for crossing the bridge when cars were banned. He claimed he had not seen any warning signs.

Mr Brundle claimed he had lodged an appeal against the fine last September, but a council official told him recently he could not see any evidence of him submitting any appeal. However, the official said he was willing in this case to allow an appeal and a payment of £60 would be acceptable.

The official said it was essential Mr Brundle dealt with the matter immediately, as failure to do so could result in the charge being registered as a debt with the County Court and recovery action being commenced.