Many are aware of the London congestion charges but few really understand the ins and outs of what it entails.
The Congestion Charge costs £15.00 per day when driving vehicles through certain areas in the capital.
Failure to pay the Congestion Charge will result in a penalty which varies in price depending on how quickly the recipient pays it.
For drivers who are planning on taking their car to the capital, it is vital that they know when and where the London Congestion Charge scheme operates, who is affected by it and how they can go about paying.
Important notice: All details are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change. For the latest, up to date information on the London Congestion Charge scheme please visit the TfL website
When do you pay the London Congestion Charge?
The Congestion Charge operates throughout Central London, so when driving within this area, you will be required to pay the congestion fee.
When does the London Congestion Charge scheme operate?
Congestion Charge times apply between 7am to 6pm on weekdays, and 12pm to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays.
There is no charge for the congestion fee in London between Christmas Day and New Year's Day bank holiday (inclusive).
Once a vehicle has entered the Congestion Charge zone, they only need to pay once regardless of how many times they drive in and out of Central London on that day.
Who does the Congestion Charge affect?
Most vehicles travelling through Central London must pay the Congestion Charge; however, there are exceptions to this and discounts for certain drivers.
Which vehicles are exempt from paying the London Congestion Charge cost?
Certain types of vehicles are exempt from the Congestion Charge. These include
- Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds
- Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines
- NHS vehicles that are exempt from vehicle tax
- Vehicles used by disabled people that are exempt from vehicle tax and have a 'disabled' taxation class
- Vehicles for more than one disabled person (for example Dial-a-Ride) that are exempt from vehicle tax and have a 'disabled' taxation class
- Taxis - when actively licensed with London Taxi and Private Hire (TPH).
Which vehicles can apply to be exempt from the Congestion Charge?
Some other types of vehicle can apply to be considered exempt from the Congestion Charge. These include:
- coastguard vehicles
- Certain operational vehicles used by London boroughs
- Armed forces vehicles
- Royal Parks Agency vehicles
- Breakdown organisations
I have a Blue Badge – Do I have to pay the London Congestion Charge?
People who have a Blue Badge for use in the European Economic Area can register not to pay the Congestion Charge, regardless of whether they own a vehicle or drive.
Up to two vehicles that this person often uses to travel in can be registered.
Is there a charge for Blue Badge holders to register as being exempt from paying the Congestion Charge?
There is a £10 charge to register for the Blue Badge Congestion Charge discount..
This will need to be renewed within 90 days of the Blue Badge's expiry date for the owner not to incur the charge again.
You can apply online for the Blue Badge Congestion Charge discount at Blue Badge discount - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)
Do low emission vehicles qualify for any Congestion Charge discounts?
Some low emission car drivers could also apply to not have to pay for the Congestion Charge.
if your car is a battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle you are eligible for the cleaner vehicle discount.
Perhaps you are looking to switch to an EV, to avoid having to pay the London driving charges?
Maybe you are in the market for a van?
Is there any charge for the London Congestion Charge cleaner vehicle discount?
It costs £10 per vehicle to register for the cleaner vehicle discount, and this must be renewed annually.
You can apply for the cleaner vehicle discount online: Cleaner vehicle discount - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)
Is the cleaner vehicle discount for London Congestion Charge due to be scrapped?
From 25 December 2025, the cleaner vehicle discount for London Congestion Charge will be discontinued.
From this date, all vehicle owners, unless in receipt of another discount or exemption, will need to pay to enter the Congestion Charge zone during charging hours.
I have a motor tricycle vehicle: Do I have to pay the Congestion Charge?
Drivers of motor tricycle vehicles can apply to not have to pay the Congestion Charge if the vehicle is one metre or less wide and two metres or less long.
To do this, they must apply in writing and send in photographs of the vehicle, a copy of the registration document and a £10 registration charge.
Residents London Congestion Charge discount: How much is congestion charge for residents?
Those living in areas where the Congestion Charge applies get a 90 per cent discount, as do people in certain areas around the Congestion Charge zone such as Victoria station.
How do you apply for a residents London Congestion Charge discount?
To get the residents' discount, people living in these areas must apply online and will need to pay an annual charge of £10.
You are also able to submit an application for the TFL Call Centre. They will be able to submit your application for you on your behalf and take the £10.00 registration charge. You would then need to email the proofs required to email@example.com.
Once the discount team have received your application and proofs, it can take up to 10 working days for them to process your residents London congestion charge discount application.
How much does the London Congestion Charge cost?
The daily charge for the London Congestion Charge is £15.00 if you pay in advance or on the same day.
If you pay after the day of travel, by midnight of the third day after travel, the Congestion Charge cost will be £17.50
Failure to pay by midnight on the third day after travel in the congestion zone area, will result in you receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
How to pay the Congestion Charge: How do you pay the Congestion Charge in London?
Wondering how do I pay Congestion Charge?
Drivers can pay for the Congestion Charge online, via the TFL Pay to drive in London app or by using the Auto Pay function.
It is also possible to pay the Congestion Charge by contacting the TFL Contact Centre on 0343 222 2222 between 8:00am and 8.00pm (Monday-Friday) or via the TFL Integrated Voice Recognition (IVR) system.
Pay one-off Congestion Charge
If you are looking to just pay a one-off Congestion Charge fee, it is easiest to do this online, or via the TFL Pay to drive in London app.
However, if you are likely to be driving in London regularly, for paying Congestion Charge (and other charges to drive in London), it is worth considering registering for CC Auto Pay.
London Congestion Charge: Auto Pay
Generally the easiest way to pay is to register for CC Auto Pay.
Auto Pay is an automated payment system that records the number of days that a vehicle enters the Congestion Charge zone each month and bills their debit or credit card accordingly.
This reduces the risk of forgetting to pay the charge and incurring a penalty charge notice.
Paying other charges to drive in London
How many vehicles can you register on Auto Pay?
Up to 5 vehicles can be registered on a personal Auto Pay account.
There is a £10 registration charge per vehicle to use Auto Pay, which is payable annually.
Other ways to pay the London Congestion Charge
Drivers not registered for Auto Pay can pay up to 90 days in advance of or by midnight of the day when they travel in the Congestion Charge zone at a cost of £15.00.
They can also pay the next day online or over the phone up until midnight of the third day after travel, at a cost of £17.50,
How to pay Congestion Charge online
You can pay the London Congestion Charge online, with a valid Debit or Credit card at Vehicle details - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)
What are the fines for not paying the London Congestion Charge?
If you fail to pay the London Congestion Charge within the allowed timeframe, you will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
The penalty charge for not paying the Congestion Charge is £160. This is reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.
You have 28 days from the date of service of your PCN to either:
If the penalty charge is not fully paid within 28 days of the date of service, then the penalty charge you have to pay increases to £240.
A Charge Certificate is then sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
You have 14 days from the date of service in which to pay this increased amount.
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