Congestion Charge

The need-to-know when paying the congestion charge in London.

Do you live in London or regularly commute to the capital?

Well, here at CarCliq we let you know all the details about the London Congestion Charge, such as when it applies, how much you must pay, the penalties you may face and how you can appeal.
What is a Congestion Charge?
A congestion charge is a fee for driving in central London at certain times of the day, which began in 2003 by the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. He introduced it at £5 with the aim of reducing traffic congestion.

Where specifically does the Congestion Charge apply?
It covers the area from Kings Cross in the north to Vauxhall in the south, and Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the east.

Please find an interactive map of the Congestion Charge zone here
How much is the Congestion Charge?
When Livingstone first introduced the Congestion Charge, it began as little as £5, however as the years have passed, it has now increased to £11.50. However, this only applies if you pay in advance or the same day. If you were to pay by midnight the following day, this would increase to £14.

When do you have to pay it?
These charges apply from Monday to Friday between 07:00 and 18:00.

When don’t you have to pay for it?
There is no charge applied between 18:00 and 07:00, also not on weekends, Bank Holidays and days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Who has to pay and who doesn’t?
Any driver that cars emit 76/km CO2 or more must pay this charge if they’re travelling into central London during the specified times.

Those who don’t have to pay include:
  • Disabled drivers with a Blue Badge
  • Cars that emit 75g/km or less of CO2
  • Electric car drivers (or any other zero-emissions vehicles)
  • Vehicles with nine or more seats
  • Motorised tricycles
  • Motorcycle riders

How do you pay the Congestion Charge?
You can pay via the TFL website or at a selected newsagents and petrol stations in the London area.

Another method is there are around 100 blue and red self-service machines in car parks inside the zone. Although, the only drawback here is they only accept credit or debit cards – not cash.

If you are a regular user, you may want to register for automatic payment (Auto Pay), by doing so this provides you with a £1 discount per day.

What penalty could I incur if I don’t pay the Congestion Charge?
By failing to pay the Congestion Charge by midnight if you’ve driven in the day within the C-Charge Zone, you’ll receive a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice). This is a total of £130, however if paid within 14 days you only pay £65.

To pay a fine, this can also be done via the TFL website. At hand, you’ll need your PCN and car registration number.

Could I appeal a Congestion Charge fine?
If you feel that you have been given the PCN unfairly, you can appeal. Although, the reasons stated in order for you to make an appeal are as follows:
  • You were not the keeper at the time of the contravention
  • You’ve paid the C-Charge
  • Your vehicle was exempt
  • The vehicle was used or taken without your consent
  • You had registered for a 100% discount
  • The vehicle was on hire to someone else

We advise, if you have any questions about a PCN, you can telephone 0343 222 3333. These lines are open from 08:00 to 20:00, with calls costing between 2p and 10p per minute from landlines or 10p and 40p from mobiles.

To conclude, do we think this is likely to change or increase? We feel that it is likely to not change but to increase definitely, due to the success brought into the scheme. Although, no C-Charge increases have been tabled at present.

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