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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Congestion charging

One way of reducing traffic congestion is to charge drivers directly for road use. London and Durham already have road charging schemes in place and other towns and cities are considering introducing them.

The London Congestion Charge

 How the London Congestion Charge works

The London Congestion Charge (LCC) is run by Transport for London (TfL). It operates Monday to Friday between 7.00 am and 6.00 pm, excluding public holidays.

The daily charge is £8 if you pay before midnight on the day you travel or £10 if you pay before midnight the following charging day. Payments on the following charging day can be made via the call centre or website only. 

The charging zone

The charging zone covers central London, including most of the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, which were added in February 2007.

The charging zone is clearly marked, and there are road signs on all roads approaching and leaving the zone. The TfL website has details of the area covered and the times at which the charge applies.

 Penalty charges

The penalty for not paying the LCC is £120, but this is reduced to £60 if you pay within 14 days. If you do not pay the penalty charge within 28 days it is increased to £180.

Discounts and exemptions

Not all drivers have to pay the LCC. There are discounts and exemptions for certain people and types of vehicle. You may be entitled to a discount or exemption if you:

  • are a Blue Badge holder
  • live within the congestion charging zone
  • drive an alternative fuel or electronically propelled vehicle
  • drive a vehicle with nine or more seats
  • drive a roadside recovery vehicle
  • represent an accredited breakdown organisation

Discounts and exemptions are not automatic. You  need to register with TfL in order to get them.

Applying for a refund

If you have paid for an annual LCC in advance and then sell your vehicle, you can claim a refund for the days you have not used.

Durham road user charge scheme

Durham introduced a road user charging scheme in 2001 to control traffic in the historic streets of the Durham peninsula, an area that includes the World Heritage Site of Durham Cathedral and Castle.

The £2 charge operates between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm, Monday to Saturday. Drivers must pay the charge at the payment machine before leaving the area. The payment machine also accepts exemption permits for residents, public transport and emergency vehicles.

Disabled drivers can reserve a permit in advance by contacting the NCP Parking shop on 0191 384 6633, provided they have pre-arranged a parking space.

The penalty for failing to pay the charge is £30.

Further details can be found on the Durham County Council website.

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