The London Congestion Charge

Article reviewed: 2013/01/07 | Next review due: 2014/07/26

In order to reduce traffic pollution in central London, the government started the Congestion Charge scheme. Since 2007, this system has not only reduced pollution and eased traffic congestion in central London, but has also led to improved public transportation with the money collected by Transport for London.

The congestions charge itself is charged at £8.00 per day. The areas within the scheme include key areas North Kensington, Notting Hill, Bayswater, Marble Arch, Kensington and Chelsea and the City of London. Entry into the congestion charge zone is marked by signs with a red C, whilst a vast array of cameras monitor all vehicles entering the zone, recording licence plate information and checking against charge payment records.

To pay the congestion charge, you must do so the day before your visit to get a Fast Track payment card, which makes frequent payments easier and faster. You can also pay by phone (0845 900 1234), by automatic machine, or the internet.


If you do not pay the congestion charge, you will be eligible for a Payment Charge Notice (PCN). It will cost £120, reduced to £60 if you pay within 14 days. If you don’t pay within 28days, the charge is increased to £180.

If you get more than three NCP charges, your vehicle may be clamped or even impounded anywhere within Greater London.


You are exempt from paying the congestion charge if you have an electric vehicle, or otherwise certified ‘Low Emission Car’.


For residents who live within a congestion charge zone, you are liable for a 90% discount.

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