Transport for London (TfL) is owed more than £116m of unpaid congestion charges by diplomatic officials, with the US embassy leading the way.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office released the figures today, showing that the US embassy had accumulated a total of 102,225 unpaid congestion charges, which adds up to £12.44m in lost revenue for TfL.
The Americans were followed by the Japanese embassy, Nigerian high commission and Indian high commission who owe £8.51m, £7.06m and £6.01m respectively.
|Country||Number of congestion charge fines||Total outstanding|
|Embassy of the United States of America||102,255||£12,446,845|
|Embassy of Japan||69,690||£8,510,650|
|High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria||58,102||£7,063,965|
|Office of the High Commissioner for India||47,654||£6,009,905|
|Embassy of the Russian Federation||48,535||£5,721,865|
|Embassy of the People’s Republic of China||38,528||£5,051,880|
|Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany||37,275||£4,373,170|
|Embassy of the Republic of Poland||35,020||£4,345,760|
|Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana||31,895||£3,959,775|
|Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan||26,717||£3,358,585|
|The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan||28,155||£3,353,420|
The Russian embassy rounded out the top five, owing TfL £5.72m.
The capital’s daily congestion charge costs £11.50 per day if you drive a car within the central London zone at any time between 7am and 6pm on weekdays.
In a written statement, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: “Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials write to diplomatic missions and international organisations with large congestion charge debts annually, to encourage payment.”
The department also released a league table on unpaid parking tickets, with the Nigerian high commission leading the pack on £47,165.
The west African country is followed by Afghanistan on £19,765, Zambia on £17,000, the United Arab Emirates on £11,565 and Saudi Arabia on £9,785.
Unpaid fines by diplomatic agencies has been an ongoing issue for TfL, with the body writing a letter to the Foreign Office in 2017 to ask them to collect the unpaid debts.
|Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation2018||Amount of Outstanding Fines(excluding London Congestion Charge)|
|High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria||£47,165|
|Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||£19,765|
|High Commission for the Republic of Zambia||£17,000|
|Embassy of the United Arab Emirates||£11,565|
|Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia||£9,785|
|Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire||£6,405|
|Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman||£6,115|
|Embassy of Libya||£5,715|
|Malaysian High Commission||£4,900|
|Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan||£4,050|
At the time Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL’s then general manager for road user charging, said: “We are clear that the congestion charge is a charge for a service and not a tax.
“That means that foreign diplomats are not exempt from paying it. We continue to pursue all unpaid congestion charge fees and related penalty charge notices.
“We have written to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to take up the matter with the relevant embassies and the International Court of Justice.”