£130m London Congestion Charge fines outweigh payments

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Auto Express

Motorists have been fined £130 million over a 12-month period for driving into the London Congestion Charge zone without paying, it has been revealed.

The fine for failing to pay the Congestion Charge is £160 - reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days - and Transport for London (TfL) issued over 817,000 such penalty charge notices (PCNs) in the 12 months up to September 2020.

Of these PCNs, more than 60 per cent were issued after June 2020, when the daily Congestion Charge fee was increased from £11.50 to £15, with hours of operation increasing from 7am to 10pm, and the toll moving from five, to seven days a week.

Data obtained from TfL by Citroen via a freedom of information request also shows the organisation received £52 million in revenue from Congestion Charge payments over the same period, meaning fines resulted in significantly more income.

Drivers who enter the Congestion Charge zone, which covers a small area of central London, have three days to pay. Electric vehicles are currently exempt from the charge, as are plug-in hybrids that emit under 75g/km of CO2 and have an electric-only range of at least 20 miles.

Eurig Druce, Citroen UK's managing director, suggested electric cars were one way drivers could avoid paying the Congestion Charge, saying EVs “help drivers save significantly on running costs” and also “eliminate the chance of unexpected and expensive fines for forgetting the Congestion Charge zone payment and other low emission zone tariffs.”

The £12.50 per-day ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone) applies to drivers of pre-Euro 4 petrol or pre-Euro 6, and covers the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge zone, with affected motorists having to pay both fees. The ULEZ will extend to cover regions of London within the North and South Circular roads, although there are currently no plans to extend the Congestion Charge Zone.

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