A number of major changes are coming to the London Congestion Charge zone, with charging hours being changed, discounts taken away and announcements on price increases introduced during the pandemic- so is the Congestion Charge going up in 2022?
Changes are coming to the London Congestion Charge (Credit: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)/Wikipedia)
With so many changes coming into effect, it is essential that anyone driving in London is aware of how they could impact them – with the possibility of fines of up to £160.
Here we take a look at the changes and when they are coming into force.
What is behind these changes?
TfL introduced a number of changes during the Covid-19 pandemic, which it claimed was to ensure that traffic was reduced so that essential journeys could take place against a backdrop of lockdowns and other restrictions linked to the pandemic.
What were the pandemic changes to the London Congestion Charge (CC)?
During the pandemic, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan increased the daily charge from £11.50 to £15 while also increasing the hours during which this higher charge was payable to include weekends and evenings.
Why is TfL making more changes?
The authority is making changes, it says, to make permanent changes to the CC to prevent traffic in London from rising above pre-pandemic levels as the country eventually returns to a new ‘normal’.
What are the new Congestion Charge hours that came in on 21 February 2022?
From 21 February, there will be no charges for driving in the capital between 18.00 and 07.00 the following morning, while CC charging times for the weekend and bank holidays will be cut to 12.00 – 18.00.
Will the Congestion Charge fee be cut?
No. The new, higher charge of £15 will be retained and made permanent – which will result in a big rise for drivers who must pay to drive in the city compared with pre-pandemic charges.
London Congestion Charge changes overview
|Query||Pre-Covid scheme up to 22 June 2020||Temporary Changes to the Congestion Charge from 22 June 2020||Permanent changes to the Congestion Charge|
|Auto Pay||£1 discount||No discount||No discount|
|Pay next day charge||£14 next day charge||£17.50 if paid up to three days after travel||£17.50 if paid up to three days after travel|
|Charging period||Mon - Fri, 0700-1800||Mon - Sun, 0700-2200||Mon - Fri, 0700-1800; Sat, Sun & bank holiday, 1200-1800|
|Non-charging days||Bank holidays and the days between Christmas Day and New Year's Day||Christmas Day||Christmas Day to New Year's Day bank holiday (inclusive)|
Will the Christmas suspension become permanent?
It looks like the Christmas period, from Christmas Day to New Year will remain as a free period, after this was introduced for Xmas 2021.
Will I still need to pay the charge by midnight on the day of driving in London?
If you want to pay the £15 tariff you will need pay the charge on the SAME day that you drove in the capital, but the deadline for payment is to be extended allowing drivers to make a delayed payment up to three days after the day of travel - but this will see the £15 on-the-day charge increased to £17.50.
The discount for Autopay customers will be scrapped
In a blow to motorists who pay the CC automatically after registering their car registration number and bank details with TfL, the discount these drivers receive will be scrapped. This despite these motorists having to pay £10 simply to register their vehicles to pay the charge. They will now pay the full £15 daily charge.
The ability for residents to pay by App or online for multiple consecutive charging days will be removed.
When will the changes come into effect?
Most of the changes came into force on 20 December 2021, but the change to hours of CC operation were delayed until 21 February 2022, to allow time for signs and other infrastructure to be updated.
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Author: Pete Barden:
Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (thesun.co.uk), New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? (Whatcar.com) Stuff Magazine (Stuff.tv), Fastcar Magazine (Fastcar.co.uk), Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.