London congestion charge
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A micro-business guide to the London Congestion Charge
The UK capital is incredibly fast-paced. Thousands of micro-businesses have to navigate the traffic every day to stay connected to clients and customers. In Central London, there’s added pressure – the congestion charge, which affects the majority of vehicles passing through, can be a significant burden for micro-business owners.
However, the UK government is respectful of this fact, and have put relief systems in place for small fleets. To help you understand how this works, we’ve pulled together a helpful guide to the London congestion charge.
Taming our traffic habits
Before February 2003, anyone could come and go in Central London without having to pay a fee. However, 15 years ago, everything changed as the congestion charge was introduced. Now, non-exempt vehicles travelling between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, must pay £11.50 per day to access the zone, or risk facing a penalty.
What is classed as an ‘exempt vehicle’?
- NHS and emergency service transport
- Motorbikes/mopeds with two wheels
- PHVs (Private Hire Bookings, such as digital cab firms) licensed as a London Taxi
- Any vehicle with a ‘disabled’ taxation class
At a glance, every car, van or truck that doesn’t fall within these rules has to pay up. 2017 has also witnessed a new charge for any vehicle made before 2006 that consumes diesel or petrol – the cost for this, daily, is an extra £10, making up a total fee of £21.50 for older vehicles.
How micro-businesses can avoid London’s congestion charge
Clearly, the congestion charge puts real financial strain on micro-businesses in London. So what can you do to avoid it?
For starters, cross-reference the criteria we’ve outlined above – are any of your vehicles eligible for relief? No registration for the congestion charge is required, as long as the corresponding vehicle is on the DVLA database.
Beyond that, numerous discounts exist for people – like small business owners – who the charge may disproportionately affect. These include:
- ‘Accredited breakdown’ vehicles under EU law. These are subject to a 100% discount after being registered at the cost of £10 per year.
- Residents within the congestion zone. Proof of address is required, such as being on the electoral roll. This counts for whoever buys or leases the car/van/bike/truck.
- Owners of cars or vans under 3.5 tonnes that emit 75g/km or less of CO2. They must meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality to gain a 100% discount
- Any vehicle with nine or more seats. Again, it’s a 100% discount with the £10 per unit renewal charge.
- Tricycles that are less than a metre wide, and less than two metres long.
By taking advantage of the small-print behind London’s congestion laws, you can make your fleet management far more cost-effective. While you’re doing so, why not take another step, and invest in our Allstar fuel cards? It makes monitoring and controlling fuel expenditure for business trips simple, so you can keep costs to a minimum.