The definition of the Congestion Charge
The Congestion Charge is designed to reduce traffic congestion within a central area of London. The charge is in effect every day from 7:00 to 22:00 and does not apply on Christmas Day. Every motorist has to pay a £15 daily charge if drives within this zone.
From the 21st February 2022, the times will be changing from 7:00 - 22:00 to 7:00 - 18:00.
It was introduced in February 2003 by Transport for London, following public consultations, and was extended in February 2007. In 2009, the Mayor started the legal process for removing the west extension which was completely abolished in December 2010.
Congestion Charge zone map
The zone covers many popular areas of Central London, like the City, Westminster, Holborn, Farringdon, Marylebone.
The major roads defining the boundary are:
Pentonville Road, City Road, Old Street, Commercial Street, Mansell Street, Tower Bridge Road, New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall Bridge Road, Park Lane, Edgware Road, Marylebone Road, Euston Road.
You can visit the Transport for London web page and enter a street name, postcode or landmark in the search box to see if your route needs a payment to be made.
Who has to pay and how to pay for it?
No matter how many times you drive in and out of the congestion charging zone on the same day, you only need to pay once. You can pay in advance on the day of the trip or before midnight on the third day after the trip. If you drive in this area from 07:00-22:00 every day, you will need to pay a daily fee, except for Christmas (December 25). If you pay in advance or on the same day, the daily charge will be £15 or £17.50 before midnight on the third charge day after travel. If you do not pay before midnight on the third charging day after traveling in the area, you will receive a Penalty Notice (PCN).
Those who drive cars emitting 76 g / km CO2 plus, must pay the fee if they enter London during the specified hours. This includes most of the cars, except electric, hydrogen and some plug-in hybrid vehicles. Drivers of cars registered abroad must or risk a fine.
You can pay it online via the TFL website or at certain kiosks and gas stations in the London area. There are also around one hundred self-service machines in the car parking lots inside the zone. However, these only accept credit and debit cards - no cash. Regular users can also sign up for automatic payment which offers a discount of £ 1 per day.
Who is not paying?
If you prove that you live in the Congestion Charge area, you will be entitled to a residents reduction of 90%.
The following items are totally exempt from Congestion Charge, subject to an annual registration fee of £ 10:
- Cars driven by disabled with a Blue Badge
- Cars emitting 75 g/km or less of CO2
- Electric cars
- Vehicles with nine or more seats
- Motorised tricycles
ULEZ vs Congestion Charge
The ULEZ covers the center of London, in the same zone as the Congestion Charge. The LEZ operates in the major part of Greater London. In addition to the ULEZ and LEZ charges, you will also have to pay the Congestion Charges. This fee applies from 7.00 to 22.00, every day except Christmas Day. If you drive in the Congestion Charge zone these times, you have to pay the fee, even if you meet the ULEZ and / or LEZ emission standards or you have paid these daily charges.
Penalties for not paying the Congestion Charge
If you have not paid the fee when you should have, you will receive a penalty notice of £ 160. You will have to pay this fine within 28 days. If you pay within 14 days you will get a 50% discount.