MOTORISTS that were caught by a North-East bus lane can apply for a refund of their penality charge notice after a review earlier this year found it was not adequately signposted.

The signage on the northbound bus lane on John Dobson Street in Newcastle City Centre was considered to be inadequate after review by the Traffic Penalty Tribunual's chief adjudicator concluded.

Newcastle City Council, which manages the bus lane, said it would not seek a judicial review into the findings despite disagreeing with the report due to the "lengthy and expensive process.

The council is now refunding motorists who received a Penalty Charge Notice from the northbound bus lane on John Dobson Street between now and February 2016.

Here's how to get the refund

Affected motorists should complete the refund form on Newcastle City Council's website and fill in 'as much' information as possible to help their claim. 

According to the council, only the registered keeper of the vehicle, or the driver who made the payment if the vehicle was a formal hire or lease vehicle, can apply for a refund.

If you paid a fine but were not the registered keeper you will need to arrange for them to complete the form on your behalf.

You cannot claim a refund if your fine was successfully appealed or cancelled or if you have previously already received a refund.

The council said it will only refund one fine, unless the second contravention took place before drivers received details of first contravention – which is usually within 14 days.

How long will it take?

Following receipt of the online form, Newcastle City Council said it aimed to verify eligibility and process payment within 30 working days.

The council is advising people not to contact them for updates into their claims. 

What the council has said

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality, said: "After waiting three long years for the Chief Adjudicator to review her findings, I am bitterly disappointed that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal has failed to provide any real substance or meaningful learnings in their report.

“Our legal team have scrutinised it closely, and there are so many gaping holes in this report, that we are minded to seek a judicial review and challenge it in court.

“However, as this could take years and at considerable expense to the public purse, I believe it is not in the public interest to take this course of action.”

Cllr Ainsley added: “There is no legal obligation for us to offer refunds as we have consistently upheld DfT requirements, to the letter.

“However, as a gesture of goodwill, the council is offering a refund to anyone who has paid a penalty charge notice for the northbound bus lane on John Dobson Street since February 2016.

"Refunds will not be offered for the southbound lane, which will continue to be enforced as it has been throughout.

“We have always stated that the cameras are not there to generate income but to help buses run on time in the city centre and to their destinations in our neighbourhoods and the wider region."