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I drove through London last week. Mostly on the the A406. I only briefly saw an announcement about the congestion fee, when entering london on the M11. I didn't see any camera or any other signs on the road, that I actually entered the zone where I would need to pay a congestion fee. The question is, how do I see that I am entering a congestion fee area and is there a way to find out as a non resident (ie. no british license plates) if I have a bill running in the UK now?

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3 Answers 3

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According to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/congestioncharging/ , you can call them at (UK) Tel: 0333 200 1000. I can't find a form matching your exact enquiry online. You can pay a penalty online (when you get the penalty form), or you can pay in advance, but I don't see a way to see 'Is there a penalty I owe I haven't found yet?'

Short answer, you need to have "driven by" one of these signs:

Congestion charge sign

Here is the actual map:

Congestion charge zone

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  • The congestion fee isn't a penalty is it?
    – user141
    Mar 25, 2013 at 20:32
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    Not in and of itself, but quoting from the website:'You can pay in advance or on the day of travel. If you don't pay by midnight on the charging day after you drove in the zone, you'll get a Penalty Charge Notice.' (and the fee goes up from ~10 pounds to 60-120, depending on when you pay)
    – Aaron
    Mar 25, 2013 at 20:52
  • Thanks for the answers. I stayed on the North Circular Road, so no worries there. Are the signs you show easily missed, or in plain sight?
    – user141
    Mar 25, 2013 at 21:23
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    They appear to be pretty visible, and there are large Cs on the lanes that go into the congestion area. I've never been to london, but I pulled it up on Google Street View: goo.gl/maps/u2GqQ
    – Aaron
    Mar 25, 2013 at 21:29
  • They are quite large and visible (but it's easy to miss something in a busy city).
    – Relaxed
    Feb 6, 2014 at 19:14
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I had the problem this morning, so I called the number given above.

No, they cannot tell you whether you have to pay the fee or not. That's what I was told on the phone. Unless you had to pay and didn't pay, in which case they will issue you with a huge fine. At that point it's too late.

It seems that you can pay and then complain later to get a refund, which had an administrative fee of £10 some years ago when the fee itself was less than £10, so you won't get your money back. I couldn't find how you go about the complaining either.

If you expect that you get into the same situation again, I think you can set up automatic payments where they take the money off you if you entered the zone.

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(Merged with previous question)
You cannot check if you entered the zone, or owe the payment, even if you are a resident.

If you know the exact route you took, you can check it on this map and many others. Driving along the peripheral roads does not constitute entering the zone.

If you selected a SatNav route, they usually warn if it goes into the charging zone, and give the option to take another route that avoids it.

There is signage and road markings so it should have been clear that you were entering the zone, if you did.


Also, don't overlook the Low Emission Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone, which are much larger. You can check if they apply to your vehicle here.

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  • While a user cannot retrieve their driving history (i.e., Did I drive in the Zone?) the user can input a specific street address to see if that address is in the Zone. Aug 5 at 16:49
  • If you don't remember the route you could plot it with Satnav or online mapping tool, and see if it comes anywhere near the congestion charging zone. Aug 5 at 16:59
  • This was my answer to a more recent question that was merged with this one. The M11 and the A406 (North Circular) roads are nowhere near to the congestion charging zone. Aug 5 at 17:57