American Embassy owes TfL almost £14m in congestion charge payments

The American Embassy in London owes Transport for London (TfL) more than £14million in unpaid congestion charge payments, new data has revealed.

The figures published by TfL show unpaid fees and fines diplomats have built up between the launch of the congestion charge in 2003 and the end of last year, which total more than £143million. 

The US Embassy in Nine Elms Lane, Nine Elms, owes the largest sum of £14,645,025, followed by the Japanese Embassy in Piccadilly, which has racked up a debt of £10,073,988.

In a statement TfL said: “We and the UK Government are clear that the Congestion Charge is a charge for a service and not a tax. 

“This means that diplomats are not exempt from paying it.”

Figures published by TfL showing debts per Embassy (Picture: TfL)

The transport network noted that the “majority” of embassies in London pay the charge but a “stubborn minority” refuse to do so.

The statement said: “We will continue to pursue all unpaid Congestion Charge fees and related penalty charge notices and are pushing for the matter to be taken up at the International Court of Justice.”

The Congestion charge involves a £15 daily fee for driving in an area of central London between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and between noon and 6pm on weekends and bank holidays.

There are discounts and exemptions for various groups of people and vehicles.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in London said: “In accordance with international law as reflected in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, our position is that the congestion charge is a tax from which diplomatic missions are exempt.

“Our long-standing position is shared by many other diplomatic missions in London.”

Pictured top: The US Embassy in Nine Elms (Picture: Google Street View)

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