Home > Other Offences > Penalties for Ignoring Congestion Charges

Penalties for Ignoring Congestion Charges

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 18 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Congestion Charges Penalty Charge Notice

Congestion charges are not common in the UK but are in operation in two UK cities. Ignoring a congestion charge can lead to fines of £120 although this amount can be reduced for prompt payment.

What is Congestion Charging?

Congestion charges are usually applied to specific areas of a city where there is a high flow of traffic. When London introduced congestion charging into central London the number of vehicles to enter the congestion zone reduced dramatically. Congestion charges will usually focus on specific city areas with a high amount of traffic from Monday through Friday. There are exemptions and discounts that apply to drivers who do live and travel within the congestion zone.

Cities in the UK with Congestion Charges

In the UK there are two cities that apply congestion charges. In 2002 Durham become the first UK city to implement a permanent congestion charge. The City of London implemented its congestion charge in 2003 with an initial price of £5. The Department of London increased the congestion charge to £8 per day in 2005 and the charge now stands at £12 per day. Other cities such as Birmingham and Manchester have considered implementing congestion charges but eventually rejected the idea.

Congestion Zone Exemptions and Discounts

Drivers who live within congestion charging zones will usually receive a discount. This can be as much as a 90% discount although this will only apply to registered residents. Disabled drivers who hold a Blue Badge are usually 100% exempt from the congestion charge. Drivers who use electric and plug-in vehicles are also eligible for the 100% electric vehicle discount. Other ‘green’ vehicles such as those registered with the Greener Vehicle Discount Scheme are also eligible for a 100% congestion discount charge.

Paying the Congestion Charge

There are a number of different ways available to pay a congestion charge. For example the London congestion charge can be paid at newsagents, shops and petrol stations that display the ‘C’ sign. Drivers can also pay by post, by telephone and by text. If the charge is paid the night before travelling there will usually be a discount, and paying on the day may be more expensive. London’s congestion charge runs from 7am until 6pm, Monday through Friday. Durham’s congestion charge runs from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday with a £2.00 charge.

Congestion Zone Penalty Charge Notices

Drivers who fail to pay congestion charges will be liable to financial penalties. If a driver is caught on camera driving through the congestion zone and records show they have not paid the congestion charge they will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Drivers will not know if they have been caught on camera until they receive the Penalty Charge Notice. If the congestion charge has not been paid by midnight of the following day then a PCN can be issued.

Financial Penalties for Ignoring a Congestion Charge

At present the financial penalty for non payment of a congestion charge in London stands at £120. This amount will decrease by 50% if the fine is paid within two weeks. The time limit for paying the Penalty Charge Notice is 28 days from the PCN date. Challenging a Penalty Charge Notice is available under certain circumstances.

Challenging a Congestion Charge Penalty Charge Notice

Drivers who feel that they have been wrongly issued a Penalty Charge Notice can dispute the fine. Reasons for dispute can include:

  • The vehicle was exempt or the charge had been paid
  • The register vehicle keeper was not driving the vehicle at the time of the offence
  • The vehicle had been stolen or taken without the registered keeper’s knowledge
  • The vehicle had been hired out to someone else at the time of the offence
  • The vehicle’s registered keeper had applied at the time for a 100% exemption discount
Although there have been many petitions and oppositions to congestion charging there is no avoiding this fee in cities where it has been implemented. Congestion charges are in place to reduce traffic and pollution levels in major cities. But mistakes can occur, and anyone who does feel they have been unfairly issued with a Penalty Charge Notice has the right to dispute the congestion charge fine.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Whats the worse case scenario if you ignorecongestion charge letters? I have been away for a while and returned to see that it is at enforcement stage. As a rule i never engage with bailiffs (as i have been scammed before) so have not been opening the door to them. What legal rights do they have when congestion charges are concerned? Can they knock my door down? Or will they eventually have to refer this back to TFL? Im Happy to pay the initial charge as i never knew i was in a congestion zone but if i just keep ignoring bailiffs whats the worst that can happen? Usually with parking fines it just goes back to the council and then they either cancel it or it reverts back to the original cost. Does congestion charge work in the same way or do they have increased powers to enforce? Thanks
Chrissy - 18-Jun-18 @ 12:41 PM
We have nearly £3000 of fines due to 6 initial congestion charge letters being sent without the full address. This was due to a mistake at the DVLA which we were unaware of. Our initial application to make payment of the initial fine for each missed congestion charge has been rejected on the basis the letters were not returned to TFL. None of this is our fault and now the only option is county court review at a charge. Is this worthwhile?
Shelly - 7-Jun-18 @ 6:35 PM
Alex - Your Question:
Can I ask if I don't pay congestion charges I have around 6*65£ can I go to court?

Our Response:
You may be taken to court for non payment of the charges, yes.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Oct-17 @ 12:23 PM
Can i ask if I don't pay congestion charges i have around 6*65£ can i go to court?
Alex - 10-Oct-17 @ 10:10 AM
Amy - Your Question:
My normal route is blocked due to road work, so I kept driving and took a turn into a two way street. However I turned right by the end of that street but not realised that there is no entry signs. By the time I realised I had already drove through and I also saw the cameras above the traffic lights. I was wrong and I am happy to pay the fine. But will I get any penalty points? The no entry sign has no exceptions. Please let me know

Our Response:
You can be given 3 penalty points for "failing to comply with a traffic sign (excluding Stop signs, traffic lights and double white lines)"
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-May-17 @ 2:17 PM
My normal route is blocked due to road work, so I kept driving and took a turn into a two way street. However I turned right by the end of that street but not realised that there is no entry signs. By the time I realised I had already drove through and I also saw the cameras above the traffic lights. I was wrong and I am happy to pay the fine. But will I get any penalty points? The no entry sign has no exceptions. Please let me know
Amy - 7-May-17 @ 9:39 AM
Saj - Your Question:
Hi, I have received a txt from JBW Group stating I need to contact them. In calling them I found out I had a debt of over £500. I have not received any letters giving me a chance to put this right even up to now. They demanding for me to pay the full amount or enforcement agency will be coming around. Can you help me please. What options am I left with now?Thank you

Our Response:
Are they willing to accept a staged payment offer? Did you not know about the debt? Sorry we don't really have enough information. It's probably better that you take details of the debt to Citizens' Advice - they have a great debt advice counsellors and can help you if you provide them with the necessary information.
NoPenaltyPoints - 31-Mar-17 @ 11:58 AM
Hi, I have received a txt from JBW Group stating I need to contact them. In calling them I found out I had a debt of over £500. I have not received any letters giving me a chance to put this right even up to now. They demanding for me to pay the full amount or enforcement agency will be coming around. Can you help me please. What options am I left with now? Thank you
Saj - 30-Mar-17 @ 3:23 PM
I have today (15/11/16) received a PCN for entering the congestion charge zone and not paying on 11th October.This is 5 weeks after it happened.Is there not a time when it is too far back for them to charge?I can't remember what i was doing 5 weeks ago or if there are ground for an appeal because such a long time has elapsed.Any advice? thanks
Weasel - 15-Nov-16 @ 3:44 PM
kathrin - Your Question:
Hi. My husband went to London last month and forgot to pay. :o how can we find out how much we have to pay now. Should we just wait for that bill for £120?Thank you

Our Response:
It's probably easier for your to read the information on the TFL page here as you know more about the details/dates of your visit.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Nov-16 @ 10:09 AM
Hi. My husband went to London last month and forgot to pay... :o how can we find out how much we have to pay now. Should we just wait for that bill for£120? Thank you
kathrin - 9-Nov-16 @ 11:17 AM
I have travelled to London today 26/9/16 paid the congestion charge but had no email to confirm my payment... How will I find out if this has gone through ...
Lozza - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:16 PM
what happens if I ignore congestion fine which I had no idea existed and I was in a hire car.I live in nz and was just a visitor
Stumpy - 20-Sep-16 @ 11:59 AM
Aidah- Your Question:
I have paid a penalty on my congestion charge on May 9th 2016 for a vehicle number DP650PR from Avis with a receipt number E103605186. But I received a letter from Avis stating that they have to charge me £30 for administrative charge for the penalty charge notice you issued to them with reference number TF91897912. Avis have given me the authority to contact you re the above matter so I would appreciate if you could advice them regarding the notice and request for them to refund back the charge they have made on me.Your consideration and attention are much appreciated. Thank you

Our Response:
Please contact Transport for London (probably this page )as this is just an advice based website.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Jun-16 @ 11:37 AM
I have paid a penalty on my congestion charge on May 9th 2016 for a vehicle number DP650PR from Avis with a receipt number E103605186 . But I received a letter from Avis stating that they have to charge me £30 for administrative charge for the penalty charge notice you issued to them with reference number TF91897912. Avis have given me the authority to contact you re the above matter so I would appreciate if you could advice them regarding the notice and request for them to refund back the charge they have made on me . Your consideration and attention are much appreciated . Thank you
Aidah - 20-Jun-16 @ 11:16 AM
Danglberryz- Your Question:
I received a letter from my old company 1/6/16 for the company car saying I have to pay for the pcn dated 15/12/15. Can I legally contest as it so late down the line. Thank you

Our Response:
It might worth asking your company when they received it and how long they took to reply to it before appealing.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Jun-16 @ 12:10 PM
I received a letter from my old company 1/6/16 for the company car saying i have to pay for the pcn dated 15/12/15. Can i legally contest as it so late down the line. Thank you
Danglberryz - 1-Jun-16 @ 5:23 PM
Aku1 - Your Question:
Hello,I recently went through King's cross to get onto the A40 for west london. Due to traffic, google maps suggested a shorter route which was a slight detour.On this divergent route, Google maps asked me to take a right into Tavistock Square which it did not know was one way. So I had to find my way out again and back onto the A40. In doing this I must have briefly gone through a C zone road which I was not aware of at all. I've never paid a congestion charge and I was not aware I went through a C zone road. A week later I receive a penalty charge.Do I have ground for appeal? Just seems very unfair given that I was not given the opportunity to pay the bill.Any advice would be much appreciated.Thanks

Our Response:
If you had followed a clearly marked official diversion which took you through a congestion charge zone, then you may have had a reasonable chance of challenging this. However, as you were following "Google maps" simply to avoid traffic, this would not be accepted.
NoPenaltyPoints - 25-Apr-16 @ 12:24 PM
Hello, I recently went through King's cross to get onto the A40 for west london. Due to traffic, google maps suggested a shorter route which was a slight detour. On this divergent route, Google maps asked me to take a right into Tavistock Square which it did not know was one way. So I had to find my way out again and back onto the A40. In doing this I must have briefly gone through a C zone road which I was not aware of at all. I've never paid a congestion charge and I was not aware I went through a C zone road. A week later I receive a penalty charge. Do I have ground for appeal? Just seems very unfair given that I was not given the opportunity to pay the bill. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks
Aku1 - 23-Apr-16 @ 12:45 PM
JR - Your Question:
Hi, I received emails that had attachments giving details of a failed payment for congestion charge. However the email were the same as normal statement emails, which didn't make it clear that there was a problem, so I didn't at the time decide to open the attached file. However this has landed a PCN. Should I challenge on this ground?

Our Response:
We don't know really. Usually, ensuring that a payment has been successful is the responsibility of the person making the payment, so you might struggle to challenge it.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-Sep-15 @ 10:39 AM
Hi, I received emails that had attachments giving details of a failed payment for congestion charge. However the email were the same as normal statement emails, which didn't make it clear that there was a problem, so I didn't at the time decide to open the attached file.However this has landed a PCN. Should I challenge on this ground?
JR - 22-Sep-15 @ 9:01 AM
@Gaj. The terms/conditions for the London congestion charge are displayed quite clearly on the TFL website:
"To benefit from a discount, you must have successfully registered with us. We will write to you to confirm once we have approved your application and activated your discount. Until then, you should continue to pay the daily Congestion Charge in full for travel within the charging zone...
You have to pay £10 to register each vehicle for the discount, and this will need to be renewed annually".
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:58 PM
Hi I live in Cambridge and recently took my BMW i3 electric vehicle intoLondon. A couple of days later I have received a penalty noticefor the vehicle .it clearly states the make and model of the vehicle. I have since been told I need to register on the city of London website even though the vehicle is exempt. This to me is ludicrous as the have all the information about the vehicle. This sees its a loophole to still generate revenue I'm going to fight this any advice please
Gaj - 12-Apr-15 @ 9:00 AM
pay the penalty for 01.07. 2013
ion - 31-Jul-13 @ 9:53 PM
paythe penaltyfor 01.07. 2013 at 08:54.
ion - 31-Jul-13 @ 9:51 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments