London Congestion Charge
The London Congestion Charge is paid by drivers travelling within the Congestion Charge Zone in London. The scheme operates between 7am and 6pm, Monday-Friday. There is no charge on weekends, public holidays, or between Christmas Day and New Year's Day inclusive.
For daily commuters, the annual cost can amount to over £2,000 per year.
Occasional drivers can pay £11.50 in advance of travel or by midnight on the day of travel. Payments received by midnight the day after travel are subject to a £2.50 surcharge. Failure to pay by this time results in a Penalty Charge Notice of £65. This increases to £130 if not paid within 14 days.
Regular drivers can register with the Auto Pay system (£10 per year). This automatically records and charges drivers based on the number of chargable days their vehicle travels within the charging zone each month. Auto Pay customer receive a £1.00 daily reduction making the daily charge £10.50.
Ultra Low Emission Discount – from 1st July 2013
From 1st July 2013 the 'Ultra Low Emission Discount' (ULED) replaced the Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD – see below). Under the new scheme, all vehicles that produce ultra-low emissions will be rewarded, irrespective of the technology used.
To be eligible for the Ultra Low Emission Discount, all models that emit less than or equal to 75 gCO2/km and meet Euro 5 emissions standards will qualify for 100% discount (subject to a £10 annual registration fee).
Under the new scheme, all electric and most plug-in hybrid vehicles are currently exempt – but 'conventional' hybrids are treated as petrol and diesel vehicles and only qualify for the ULED if their emissions are 75 gCO2/km or less and are Euro 5.
As was the case with the GVD, the new scheme is to be monitored and the ULED criteria regularly reviewed.
Prior to the Ultra Low Emissions Discount scheme, the London Mayor introduced a 'Greener Vehicle Discount' (GVD) scheme with effect from January 4th, 2011. To be eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount, all models that emited less than or equal to 100 gCO2/km and met Euro 5 emissions standards qualified for 100% discount (subject to a £10 annual registration fee).
Those who registered a vehicle for the Greener Vehicle Discount before 28th June 2013 continue to receive the full discount for that vehicle for a 'sunset period' of three years (ending on 24th June 2016).
Residents who live in the charging zone or designated areas next to the zone may be eligible for a 90% discount (subject to a £10 annual reigstration fee). You can use the Transport for London address checker to confirm whether your property’s location qualifies your vehicle for exemption.
Blue Badge holders
If you hold a valid Blue Badge, you're eligible for 100% discount, even if you don't own a vehicle or drive. You can register up to two vehicles (subject to a £10 annual charge)
A full list of eligible exemptions and discounts can be found on the official Transport for London website.