Drivers told no refunds for Lendal Bridge fines until legal row is settled - but council apologises for email mistake
NO more refunds of fines for using York's Lendal Bridge will be issued until a legal wrangle has been resolved.
City of York Council has emailed about 150 drivers who had appealed against penalty charge notices given for using the bridge and also Coppergate at times when cars were banned.
Darren Richardson, Director of City & Environmental Services, said that after seeking the opinion of expert counsel, the authority was confident it could successfully challenge a recent ruling by a traffic penalty adjudicator that the authority had no power to issue the fines.
"No refunds will therefore be issued until such time as a definitive conclusion has been reached," he said. "In the event that refunds become necessary, City of York Council will contact you again."
But it has emerged that a serious mistake was made when the email was sent out, in that recipients were all copied in and had sight of other recipients' email addresses.
The drivers have this afternoon received another email from the council, sincerely apologising for the error.
It said: "We are taking this matter very seriously and are investigating how it occurred and ways to prevent recurrence.
"As another version has been sent that does not contain all email addresses, I would ask that you please delete the first email and any copies that you may have received."
The email goes on to advise people that if they wish to make a formal complaint they should contact the customer care centre.
One reader who contacted The Press to say he had received the original email said he believed there had been a data protection breach.
He said that about five minutes after receiving the email, he received another email from the same address attempting to recall it, probably having realised what a mistake had been made.
The bridge was reopened to traffic earlier this month just days after the decision of the adjudicator, who claimed neither the trial bridge closure nor the Coppergate scheme could be "sensibly" described as bus lanes, meaning the authority had no power to issue a penalty charge notice.
The council's appeal against the decision is expected to be heard in the next few weeks.
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