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Rules & regulations

What is the Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge:  
An £11.50 fee for driving a vehicle in London between 7am and 6pm,
Monday to Friday.

Why does it exist?

London is a difficult city to drive through at the best of times, but during the working week it can be close to impossible.

The Congestion Charge was introduced to limit the number of vehicles entering Central London, by making car sharing or public transport the more affordable option.

Who has to pay it?

Anyone travelling into Central London between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, except:

  • Blue Badge holders
  • Accredited breakdown vehicles
  • Vehicles with 9 or more seats
  • Ultra low emission vehicles
  • Electric vehicles

There is also a 90% residents’ discount for people living in the Congestion Charge zone. You can find out more about Congestion Charge discounts and exemptions on the Transport for London website.

Where does it apply?

The Congestion Charge covers Central London and includes:

  • St. James's
  • Waterloo
  • Borough
  • City of London
  • Clerkenwell
  • Covent Garden
  • Fitzrovia
  • Charing Cross
  • London Bridge
  • Holborn
  • Finsbury
  • Bloomsbury
  • Soho
  • Mayfair
  • Westminster
  • Parts of Marylebone, Lambeth and Southwark
 

Take a look at Transport for London’s Congestion Charge map. You can also check if the place you need to drive to sits within the Congestion Charge zone.

How do I know when I’m entering the Congestion Charge zone?

You will see a big ‘C’ in a red circle, painted on the road or on a white sign.

What if I enter the Congestion Charge zone by mistake?

Number plates are monitored in the charge zone so if you enter by mistake, you could very well be photographed and fined. However, you can pay the Congestion Charge the next day at a slightly higher price to avoid the fine.

How do I pay the charge?

You can pay the Congestion Charge online, by text or by call. You can also choose to pay automatically every day, leave it until the next day or even pay months in advance.

Go to the full list of Congestion Charge payment options.

What if I don’t pay?

If you forget to pay the Congestion Charge you have until midnight the next day to pay.

But if you don’t pay, you will get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) with a £130 fine. This is reduced to £65 if you pay within 14 days so get it over with quickly!

If you ignore the fine, the amount you owe will just increase and you could end up with debt collectors on your doorstep.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .