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 10pm every day. The only exception is Christmas day - 25th December.
Occasional drivers can pay £15 in advance of travel, or by midnight on the day of travel. There is also a leniency period of up to three days after the day of travel to pay the daily charge, though at a higher rate of £17.50. Failure to pay by this time results in a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, though like many fines of this type, the charge is halved to £80 if paid within 14 days.
In contrast, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is always in operation using the same area as the Congestion Charge zone. This incurs a charge of £12.50 to all vehicles entering the zone, and runs midnight-midnight.
For daily commuters, the annual cost of the Congestion Charge and ULEZ charge could amount to more than £10,000 per year. Regular drivers simplify procedures by registering with the Auto Pay system (10 per year per vehicle registered). This automatically records and charges drivers based on the number of chargeable days their vehicle travels within the charging zone each month.
From 25 October 2021, ULEZ is expanding from central London to create a single larger zone up to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). The North and South Circular Roads themselves are not included in the zone.
Cleaner Vehicle Discount
Formerly the Ultra Low Emission Discount, the Cleaner Vehicle Discount allows drivers of Euro 6 standard cars cars that emit 75 g/km of CO2 or less, and have a minimum zero-emission capable range of 20 miles to qualify for a 100% discount.
There is no restriction on the technology used to achieve the sub-76 g/km CO2 emissions and eligible models include all electric vehicles & hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and many plug-in hybrids on the market. A few conventional hybrid models are eligible too though only if they qualify under the emissions regulation. A full list of congestion charge exempt vehicles can be found here.
From 25th October 2021, the Cleaner Vehicle Discount will change so that only battery electric vehicles are eligible, and then from 25th December 2025, it will be discontinued altogether.
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.