Albert Bridge: London drivers charged £630,000 in fines after weight restriction imposed

Albert Bridge (Daniel Lynch)
Albert Bridge (Daniel Lynch)

London motorists have been fined more than £630,000 for breaking a three-tonne weight restriction on Albert Bridge.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) found Kensington and Chelsea Council issued drivers with 11,766 fines worth £130 between January 9 and May 27.

The new restriction, which came into force on January 11, is meant to deter heavy good vehicles from using the popular West London bridge.

The LDRS found more than half – 68per cent – of motorists had their fine reduced to £65 because they paid within the 14 day window.

At least 2995 fines – or just above 25pc – were forced to pay the full amount. Another 737 fines worth between £195 and £260 were handed out.

The rest have either not been paid or challenged by drivers. The FoI showed all fines were issued to vehicles travelling southbound.

The council has been asked to explain why a fine was issued before the scheme’s start date of January 11 but has no provided a comment. The motorist was not charged.

In January, Kensington and Chelsea Council said it would fine hauliers £130 if they broke a three-tonne limit for goods vehicles using the bridge.

According to Gov.UK, motorists have 28 days to pay off their fine or face a “charge certificate”. This means the driver will  have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 50pc more.

At the time, councillor Cem Kemahli, lead member for planning and public realm, said he did not want the bridge succumbing to the same fate as Hammersmith Bridge, which has been closed to motor traffic for five years because of a structural fault.

He said: “The bridge is structurally sound and perfectly safe, but it is a listed structure and an important river crossing so we need to make sure we protect both the surface and the structure for the long term.” The West London council said it previously relied on width restriction barriers to deter heavy goods vehicles from using Albert Bridge – a rule that has been in place since 2012 and recently spent £100k resurfacing the deck in October.

It said drivers regularly using the bridge had been given advance notice, with warning signs on the street and more than 1,400 warning notices issued since December 6, 2023.

Goods vehicles over three tonnes that are fined under the new scheme can have it reduced to £65 if it is paid within 14 days, according to the council’s website. The weight of your vehicle is usually listed in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or you can check the specifications on the DVLA website.

A Kensington and Chelsea spokesperson said: “We want to protect the surface and structure of the listed Albert Bridge for the long term and the weight restriction has been in place since 2012 to help us achieve that.

“Motorists using Albert Bridge are warned about the weight enforcement by a number of warning signs on the approach, a sign at the point of enforcement and temporary notices warning of camera enforcement. We also installed warning signs on the street and issued more than 1,400 warning notices ahead of introducing the enforcement in January this year.

“Drivers always have an option to appeal traffic violations or parking fines. We initially implemented the scheme on the basis of warning drivers rather than issuing fines.”