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BUSINESSES operating their vans in London face increased congestion charges from 2011. The congestion charge rises by £2 to £10 per day as from 04 January 2011.

The congestion charge is a daily fee payable by drivers that wish to drive through central London. The purpose of the congestion charge zone is to discourage vehicle use and clean up the capital city’s air quality.

Since 19 February 2007, the charging zone was extended to included an area of west London, too.

However, from 04 January 2011, there is a major change to the congestion charge zone, the fees payable, and those cars that receive a 100% discount for the charge zone fee.

The actual changes start from 24 December 2010. On that date the congestion charging zone will reduce, with the abolition to the western extension of the zone.

From 04 January 2011, the fee to drive within the reduced congestion charge zone increases from £8 to £10 per day.

London Congestion Charge Fees

  • £10 if paid in advance or on the day;
  • £12 if paid by midnight the charging day after travel;
  • £9 if registered for Congestion Charging Auto Pay.

How to pay

You can pay the charge up to 90 days in advance in a variety of ways, including online, by phone, by SMS text message and in selected shops. Failure to pay the fee incurs a £120 charge. This reduces to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Using Auto Pay

Alternatively, you can pay using Congestion Charging Auto Pay. This is an automated payment system that automatically records the days travelled within the charging zone and charges the fee payable monthly to a registered debit or credit card. It is likely to be useful for small businesses operating within the zone as up to five vehicles can be registered on one account. Each vehicle costs £10 to register. Congestion Charging Auto Pay commences on 04 January 2011.

Fleet Auto Pay

Fleet Auto Pay is also available for a £9 daily charge for business car fleet operators. The minimum vehicle requirement has been reduced from 10 to six. There is a registration charge of £10 per vehicle.

How to avoid paying the London Congestion Charge

  • The Green Vehicle Discount (GVD). Cars with CO2 emissions of 100g/km or lower qualify for the 100% GVD discount. These GVD qualifying vehicles must meet Euro 5 exhaust emission standards. The cost to register a vehicle for GVD is £10. Thereafter there is no charge to travel within the congestion charge zone. The GVD qualifying level of 100g/km CO2 will be reviewed to 80g/km or lower in the future. However, this does not apply to vans.
  • The Alternative Fuel Discount (AFD). This applies to alternative fuel vehicles – for example dual fuel vans that run on LPG or hybrid (petrol-electric cars). If you already hold an AFD discount on 24 December 2010 you’ll continue to receive the 100% until December 2012. New registrations for the AFD dscount close on 24 December 2010. Vehicle registration costs £10.
  • Electric Vehicle and Plug in Electric Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV). From 4 January 2011 electric powered vehicles and plug in electric hybrids also qualify for a 100% discount from the congestion charge zone – including vans. To qualify for the discount you must register the vehicle for an annual £10 payment.

Hours of operation

The congestion charging zone operates from 7am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

Key points of the London Congestion Charge zone

  • New charges and discounts from 04 January 2011
  • Charge payable Mon-Fri 0700 to 1800
  • Charge is £10 payable up to midnight on day of travel
  • Pay next day facility costs £12
  • Non payment charge of £120
  • 100% discount applies to cars with CO2 of 100g/km or less; alternative fuel vans; and electric vehicles
  • There are certain no charge ‘through-routes’ across the zone
  • Picture (c) Transport for London 2005
  • More details can be found at www.cclondon.com

 

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