London Congestion Charge: A Comprehensive Guide

Jan 31, 2024

London Congestion Charge: A Comprehensive Guide

London Congestion Charge: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're planning to drive in London, you may encounter the Congestion Charge, a daily fee applicable when entering specific parts of the city. Our guide provides comprehensive information on this charge, covering its application, payment details, penalties for non-compliance, and the process for appealing fines.

Overview of the London Congestion Charge

The Congestion Charge is a fee aimed at reducing traffic congestion in central London during specific hours. Managed by Transport for London (TfL), it spans from Kings Cross in the north to Vauxhall in the south, and Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the east, with ANPR cameras monitoring the perimeter.

Differentiation from ULEZ and LEZ

It's distinct from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Low Emission Zone (LEZ), where additional fees target specific areas to combat air pollution.

Fee Structure

The charge is £15 per day when paid in advance or on the day, rising to £17.50 if paid by midnight on the third day after the journey.

Operating Hours

Effective seven days a week, the charge applies from 7:00 am to 18:00 pm Monday to Friday and 12:00 to 18:00 Saturday to Sunday (and bank holidays). No charge on Christmas Day or New Year's Day.

Strategies to Avoid Payment

Traveling between 18:00 and 7:00 Monday to Friday and 18:00 to 12:00 Saturday to Sunday (including bank holidays) exempts you from the charge, as well as during Christmas Day or New Year's Day.

Applicable Vehicles

Cars with emission standards of Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol and Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel must pay the charge. Exceptions include electric, hydrogen, and some plug-in hybrid models. Foreign-registered cars also face charges.


Residents within the C-Charge zone can receive a 90% discount. Full exemptions, with a £10 annual registration fee, apply to disabled drivers with a Blue Badge, Euro 5 or 6 petrol cars, electric vehicles, vehicles with nine or more seats, motorised tricycles, and motorcycles.

Electric Vehicle Exemption

Electric car drivers are exempt until December 24, 2025, with eligibility requiring a Cleaner Vehicle Discount application; otherwise, the daily Congestion Charge fee applies.

Payment Methods

Payment options include online payment through the TFL website, selected newsagents, petrol stations, or around 100 self-service machines in car parks (credit and debit cards only). Regular users can register for Auto Pay, offering a £1 per day discount.

Penalties for Non-Payment

Failure to pay by midnight the day after entering the C-Charge zone results in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £180 (£90 if paid within 14 days).

Appealing Fines

Appeals can be made within 28 days for various reasons, such as not being the vehicle's keeper, having paid the charge, vehicle exemption, unauthorized use, a 100% discount registration, or the vehicle being on hire. Appeals can be submitted online or by mail to Congestion Charging, PO Box 344, Darlington, DL1 9QE.

Historical Context

Introduced in 2003 by then Mayor Ken Livingstone at £5 a day, the Congestion Charge has increased to £15 a day for most drivers. The 'Western Extension' introduced in 2007 was later removed in 2010 following protests.

This summary encapsulates key information about the London Congestion Charge.