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London Congestion Charge: A Full Guide

London is a buzzing metropolis, whether you're working there or going for leisure. From the Tower of London to the British Museum, there's always something to do. But whatever you decide to do in London, it's important to keep the Congestion Charge in mind.

London Congestion Charge: A Full Guide

The Congestion Charge was introduced by the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in February 2003 and is now administrated by Transport for London (TFL). The charge is in effect on weekdays from 7am to 6pm and on weekends (including bank holidays) from 12 -6pm. It requires non-exempt motor vehicles which pay a standard daily fee of £15.


The charge is only enforced by local authorities within specific charging zones. It covers 8 square miles of parts of the City of London as well as other surrounding London areas.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is similar but covers all London boroughs, rather than just Central London and is in place to improve the emission standards across London.

The charge is a means of ensuring that those travelling on the busiest roads make a financial contribution. This is to raise funds for London's transport system and, effectively, reduce congestion. In turn, this increases usage of different modes of transport. These could include cycling, the bus, and the tube. This can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

A lot of businesses, such as removal companies operating within the London area, tend to use Congestion Charge Auto Pay (CCAP). This pre-paid automated system allows businesses to pay a reduced charge. This will be applied to their accounts at the end of the month.

Nobody wants to go through the charging zones and receive a Penalty Charge Notice for forgetting to pay the charge. For van drivers, Congestion Charge Auto Pay means that they are able to enter congestion charging zones without worrying about finding somewhere to pay it.

Pete Ridley, an advisor at Car Finance Saver, emphasises the importance of strategic planning to mitigate the impact of London's Congestion Charges on daily commuters.

'To maximize savings when commuting in London, it's crucial to consider alternatives to driving solo. Opting for Congestion Charge Auto Pay can significantly reduce the hassle and potential for fines, ensuring a smooth, cost-effective commute.'

Paying the congestion charge and fees


There are many things to consider with your London home move. It is important that you remember to organise paying the congestion charge first. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can do this.

• Congestion Charge Auto Pay (CCAP)

This method of paying the congestion charge is an automated payment system. You'll need some private driver information, such as your vehicle registration. TFL monitor and record the number of days the driver has entered the congestion zone, and charge £15 per driver per day to the debit/credit card at the end of the month.

You can sign up to 5 vehicles to a Congestion Charge Auto Pay account. If your account is live, any registered vehicles are protected from receiving Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).

• Fleet Auto Pay

You can join Fleet Auto Pay if you have 6 or more vehicles operating in the Congestion Charge zone. With Fleet Auto Pay, you can pay monthly in arrears. Once registered, payments will be taken by direct debit and will charge £15 per driver per day.

• Paying in advance

The vehicle driver can pay by midnight on the day they travel. This equates to the standard charge of £15.

• Paying later

The vehicle driver can also pay up to midnight on the third charging day after travel. Paying late results in the fee being increased to £17.50.

If the charge is not paid before midnight on the third day, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be sent.

• London Residents

Those who live within the Congestion Charge zone or nearby can apply for a 90% congestion charge discount from thier local government. As long as your main property is residential and you are over 17 years old, you're eligible. You can read more about this discount on the TFL website.

Ways to pay the Congestion Charge

• Internet


• Telephone

• Automated telephone service

• Via post

Paying the Congestion Charge:

If you want to pay congestion charge via the Gov.UK website, you can do so here.


Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

Failure to pay



A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) states a charge of £160 to be paid within 28 days. This can be paid or challenged.
If your PCN is paid within 14 days, it will be discounted and you will instead pay £80.

After 28 days

Failure to pay PCN results in a Charge Certificate. This will increase the initial penalty charge by 50% to £240 and payment will be expected within 14 days. This also means the driver can no longer make a legal representation.

After an additional 14 days

Unpaid Charge Certificate results in an Order of Recovery including debt recovery fees. At this point the penalty charge due increases by the debt registration fee.

Non- payment of Order of Recovery

Final course of action: Bailiffs and enforcement officers sent to the offenders' residence in order to obtain value of outstanding fees/charges owed.



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