17 January 2012 by Parkers Team Last Updated: 29 May 2014

  • Our guide to the London Congestion Charge
  • Find out where you'll be charged for driving
  • How to pay, clamping and refunds explored

Note: follow this link for Congestion Charge increase as of June 16, 2014.

We bring you a guide to London's Congestion Charge, including where you'll be charged, how you pay, how it works, exemptions and discounts and claiming refunds.

  • Where you will be charged
  • How to pay
  • How it works
  • Exemptions and discounts
  • Refunds
  •  

    Where you will be charged

    The charge zone begins in west London at Hyde Park Corner, bounded to the north by the Marylebone Road and in the south finished by Elephant and Castle.

    A map of the zone can be viewed here.

    The charge is £9 per day if you pay by autopay.

    It'll cost you £10 per day to pay before midnight on the day you enter the zone.

    To pay the day after you've entered the zone it'll cost you £12.

    You can register a fleet vehicle for Congestion Charging, and this will cost £9 per day via Fleet Autopay.

    How to pay

    Transport for London (TfL) has introduced the Pay-Next-Day scheme which will allow drivers to pay the £10 congestion charge until midnight on the day, or pay £12 until midnight on the following day.

    How it works 

    Payment of the congestion charge allows you to enter, drive around, and leave the charging zone as many times as you wish that day.

    There are no tollbooths or barriers around the congestion charging zone and no physical tickets or passes. Instead, you pay to register your vehicle number plate on a database for your journeys within the charging zone.

    Cameras read your registration number as you enter, drive within or leave the congestion charging zone and check it against the database. Once the vehicle number plate has been matched, showing that you have paid or do not have to pay the charge (because your vehicle is exempt or 100% discounted), the photographic image of your vehicle is automatically wiped off the database.

    Following a final check at midnight the following day, the computer keeps the registration numbers of vehicles that should have paid but not done so. Transport for London then manually checks each recorded image and issues a Penalty Charge Notice of £120 to the registered keeper or hirer of all those vehicles. As with parking penalties, this is reduced to £60 for prompt payment within 14 days. Failure to pay the penalty charge within 28 days means the a Charge Certificate will be issued and the charge will increase by a further 50%.

    If the charge isn't paid 14 days after the Charge Certificate is served then your case may be seen as an unpaid debt and you'll be served an Order for Recovery.

    If this is still not paid after another 21 days then your case will be passed to a Bailiff for them to recover the cash. You'll be written to first, and then may pay you a visit. Bailiff fees can run into hundreds of pounds.

    Exemptions and discounts

    Not all drivers have to pay the central London congestion charge.

    There are a range of exemptions and discounts available to certain categories of drivers and certain categories of vehicles and individuals.

    Drivers of vehicles which emit under 100g/km of CO2 and meetn Euro5 emissions standards qualify for a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge.

    If you live in the Congestion Charging Zone you'll qualify for a 90% discount. To register for this, click here.

    • The following vehicles are automatically free and you don't need to register them:
    • Two-wheeled motorbikes, side cars, mopeds and bicycles
    • London licensed minicabs and taxis (licensed with TfL Taxi and Private Hire)
    • Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines
    • NHS vehicles that are exempt from road tax
    • Vehicles used by disabled people that are exempt from vehicle excise duty (road tax) under the 'disabled' class
    • Vehicles for more than one disabled person (for example Dial-A-Ride) exempt from road tax
    • There are other exemptions too, and if you believe your vehicle should be included then contact TfL here.
    • Other categories of exemption include:
    • HM Coastguard and Port Authorities
    • Certain operational vehicles used by the London boroughs
    • The armed forces
    • Royal Parks Agency
    • Breakdown organisations

    Refunds

    If you have paid your congestion charge monthly or annually you can apply for a refund for unused days.

    Refunds are calculated from the number of whole charging days from and including the refund date, multiplied by the cost for each of these days, minus a £10 administrative charge. The cost per day will be the value of the charge purchased divided by the number of charging days purchased.

    The start date of the refund must be a minimum of seven charging days from the date of receipt of your request by Transport for London.

    When you request a refund, you must provide Transport for London with either the original payment receipt/receipt number, or an original of your V5 registration document sent to you by the DVLA.

    Refund payments will be made using the same method in which you made the payment. You can download a refund request form here.

    For more information on the London Congestion Charge go to the TfL website.