The signs were found to be “legally compliant” but an adjudicator observed the two-tonne weight limit was “unusually low”. Signs at the Rotherhithe Tunnel state vehicles more than two tonnes in weight are banned from entering the area due to safety concerns.
An Adjudicator at the London Tribunal, who consider appeals against Penalty Charge Notices heard a case involving a fine in the tunnel.
The appeal was brough by Alexander Rayson who was issued a Penalty Charge Notice after he travelled through the tunnel.
Using a Freedom of Information request sent to Transport for London Mr Rayson claimed the sign was the only specific weight restriction of its type in the UK and argued this opened grounds that the signs were not sufficiently clear to motorists.
Adjudicator Edward Houghton said: “I accept in principal that compliant signage is not automatically clear signage.” (sic)
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Motorists could be hit with up to a £130 fine for ignoring the restriction
Motorists say the ‘2t’ HGV logo is confusing
However, the adjudicator ruled the Penalty Charge Notice was lawfully issued because TFL’s signage was deemed to be adequate.
Mr Houghton said: “Once a sign is established to be legally compliant there must be very good reasons for finding that it is nevertheless not clear.”
He added: “It’s meaning when one looks at it is, in my view, clear enough.”
Mr Rayson is not the first to be caught out by the road signs as others found the logo of a heavy goods vehicle with a weight limit inside confusing.
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Clive Wiltshire says the logo usually features weight restrictions between 17.5 and 18 tonnes meaning road users could be caught out.
He is calling for a no vans sign to be installed instead of the current logos to ensure motorists are not “mugged off” with fines.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “TfL were aware that initially with a makeshift ‘NO VANS’ sign the workmen posted on each end of the tunnel, [they] were turning away around 600 vans a day.
“At some point, the decision was made to mug these motorists off. It has worked.
“However, having brought the present dodgy signs to their attention, they are free to carry on as no-one is here to represent the motorist.
“TfL hide behind so called ‘LEGAL’ and deliberately misleading signage. The motorists being caught out are on the road seven days a week and are not all stupid or have money to burn.”(sic)
In a letter to Mr Wiltshire seen by Express.co.uk, Transport for London (TfL) have claimed they are “not able” to make any modifications to the warning signs.
They say the current sign is the only one which they can use under Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions laws.
The letter said: “This is a regulated Department for Transport sign and the only variation permitted is for the text to show the weight restriction in place, in this case ‘2t’.
“No other variation is allowed, otherwise we would not be fulfilling our legal obligation and would not be able to enforce the Penalty Charge Notices.”
Mr Wiltshire said he had contacted several local authorities who all refused to hear his case as it was not within their remit.
He claimed TfL were guilty of “highway robbery” and no changes would be introduced as it would lose money.
He told Express.co.uk: “Call it what you like, TFL are well aware that what they are doing is highway robbery.
“But as no one will take them to task (they have no reason to change anything) as it would loose them millions of pounds.” (sic)
Data provided by Transport for London has revealed 160,847 penalty charge notices were issued to users of the Rotherhithe Tunnel between February and December 2019.
However, charges did slowly decrease with only 8,428 issued in December compared to more than 23,000 in March.
Previous data has revealed TfL generated income of £5,226,763 from motorists in just seven months between February and August.
Motorists who do not comply with the regulations will be hit with a massive £130 fine which can be reduced to £65 if this is paid within 14 days.
Express.co.uk has contacted Transport for London asking for comment.