If you are travelling on the roads of London (especially central London), you might have to pay a charge if you don’t know about Congestion & ULEZ law.
What if you wake up one morning and get a postcard, only to realize that you have been charged for driving on the roads? Yes, no offence, just a drive. Not a very good morning indeed. Upon opening the envelope, you realize it’s Congestion or Ulez charges.
This write-up is an endeavour by Easy Number Plates to inform you about the most frequently imposed charges in London and what the violations are. Be with us till the last.
What Are Congestion Charges?
A congestion charge, also known as CC, is imposed upon driving in certain parts of the city during a particular time frame. There is a 15 £/day charge on cruising through the congestion zones between 7:00 – 22:00 every day (except Christmas).
These are mostly the busy places in London. The charges are to avoid traffic jams by curbing the entry of people who have no motive to be in the area. The congestion zone expands from Kings Cross in the north to Vauxhall in the south and Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the east.
Reducing carbon emissions in the city.
Avoiding traffic jams.
Making money for the council
How to avoid congestion charges?
Enlightenment – Know everything you need to know about congestion charges and how they are imposed.
Timing Your Visit – As far as possible, avoid your visit to the congestion zones during restricted hours.
Have A Congestion Charge Zone Map Handy – Having a congestion zone map will constantly remind you not to enter those zones. Instead, take other routes to the same destination (if any).
Routes Through London – If you do not intend to go to London, but your destination requires you to pass through London, the Transport of London website has other routes that you could take to avoid congestion charges. Refer those.
Drive Smart – If you are alert while driving, there are signposts to mark the congestion charge zones. Moreover, several modern sat navs (specifically European) have an option that leads you to accurate navigation around the zone.
Apart from the exceptions, avoid crossing the roads to avoid unpleasant surprises like congestion charges.
What Are ULEZ Charges?
The London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) is a pollution control method to restrict the entry of certain high carbon-emitting cars into major parts of the capital. Your vehicle must abide by the standards of ULEZ if you want to cross the major places in London (anytime). Or you have to pay 12.59 £s/day. ULEZ is not just to scrutinise diesel cars, but also some petrol cars and motorbikes.
To control exhaust emissions from the vehicles.
Control pollution in the areas where the major crowd of the city frequents.
Making people turn towards electric cars (possibly).
How to avoid ULEZ charges?
It is a tough bread to avoid ULEZ charges if you are a modern-day driver with a standard diesel car in London. Still, here is some advice.
Buy Cars As Per Latest Standards – After September 2015, every car sold in the UK should abide by Euro 6 emission standards. The laws go equivalently for diesel and petrol cars. Even before that, the petrol cars had lesser exhaust emissions than their diesel counterparts, so the rules are even strict for diesel cars.
How About A Vintage Car – Even though you are not contributing to lessening London’s air pollution problem, a vintage car manufactured approximately 40 years ago is one way to drive in London and not get charged for ULEZ taxes. Cars built before 1982 have a historic tax class that does not include ULEZ.
Go Electric – This is the wisest decision you could take in 2022. Buy an electric car to save fuel costs, ULEZ charges, get congestion exemptions and above everything, save the planet. EVs have no carbon emissions and could easily be recognized from far with their lush green number plates with credentials in grey.
Buy A Motorbike – Apart from swirling through stubborn traffic jams, a modern motorbike can help you avoid ULEZ charges as well. Any motorbike that meets Euro 3 emissions standards shall not be charged by ULEZ fee – that is a law.
Do Taxi Drivers Have To Pay Congestion And ULEZ Charges?
Taxi drivers earn their bread by driving on the roads and taking the passengers from one destination to another. In the event, there might be instances when the drivers have to pass by the congestion zones multiple times. So, do they have to pay every time they enter the zone?
Paying £15 every time is not viable for the taxi drivers, therefore taxis with an active licence from TPH (Taxi and Private Hire) are exempted from congestion charges by TFL (Transport Of London). In the event of licence surrender, expiry or revocation – the taxi will be removed from the reference records of CC-exempt vehicles.
London Licenced taxis are exempt from the scope of ULEZ as well, provided that they use a certain type of vehicle, specifically designed for London’s unique street network and easily accessed by wheelchair users.
The private hires are not exempt from the congestion charge. The PHV drivers have to pay the same amount of congestion charge as any car owner every time they travel within the congestion zone. Upon complying with some norms, PHV vehicles might be eligible for CC discounts.
Finally, How Are We Monitored?
All the congestion charge zones and other major parts of London are under the surveillance of the ANPR cameras. The surveillance is to quickly capture the number plate to impose charges. There have been cases of wrong number plate tracking as well. Make sure your number plate is loud and clear, not worn out, or too old to recognise. Avail the replacement number plates if your current ones are not in a good position (front or rear).