Drivers can avoid expensive Congestion Charge this weekend with 'essential' work planned

A Congestion Charge sign

Some drivers will be able to escape the £15 daily fee

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 24/08/2023

- 10:55

Motorists will avoid the charge if they follow signed diversions routes this weekend

Drivers travelling in London over the bank holiday weekend may be able to avoid paying the £15 daily Congestion Charge fee.

Tower Bridge will be closed to traffic and pedestrians to allow for essential maintenance over the August bank holiday weekend.

The bridge will be closed at 10pm on Friday, August 25, and reopen in the evening on Monday, August 28, unless work is finished sooner.

Because of this, motorists following the diversion route are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge across the weekend, in agreement with Transport for London.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge will temporarily shut for essential maintenance


According to City Bridge Trust, signed diversion routes will be in place via Great Dover Street, Marshalsea Road, Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark Bridge, Upper Thames Street, Lower Thames Street, Byward Street and Tower Hill.

Giles Shilson, chairman of the Bridge House Estates Board, said: “We appreciate that the closure will cause some inconvenience but this work is essential to the smooth operation of the bridge, and will ensure it can continue to do its job for decades to come.”

The charging zone includes the area within the London Inner Ring Road, with around 136,000 residents living in the area.

Drivers are expected to pay £15 when driving in the area, with the fee potentially rising to £17.50 if they pay up to three days after they travel.

If drivers fail to pay the charge, they will be fined £160, with the penalty charge notice dropping to £80 if it is paid within 14 days.

Holders of Blue Badges can qualify for a 100 per cent exemption from the Congestion Charge, as well as zero emission vehicles making use of the Cleaner Vehicle Discount.

A number of Congestion Charge changes were introduced in December 2021 and February 2022 with drivers seeing a host of new regulations in London.

The proposals were put forward by Transport for London in a bid to ease traffic and congestion in the capital and aim to get more people walking, cycling or using public transport.

Although the charge level was not changed from £15, Transport for London scrapped the charge for drivers between Christmas Day and the New Year’s Day bank holiday.

The 90 per cent residents’ discount was also re-opened for eligible residents, as well as the removal of fees for people using Auto Pay and Fleet Auto Pay.

As part of phase two of the scheme, the hours of the Congestion Charge were changed on February 21, 2022.

This means the zone now operates from 7am until 6pm on weekdays and between 12pm and 6pm on weekends and bank holidays.


A Porsche driving over the Congestion Charge logo

The Congestion Charge was first introduced in 2003


Speaking at the time, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “These new changes strike a balance between reducing traffic and congestion and supporting London's economy and residents and helping ensure our recovery is a green and sustainable one.

“The removal of the evening charge will support the capital's culture, hospitality and night-time businesses which have struggled so much, as well as encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport. It’s vital we do not encourage a car-led recovery and replace one public health crisis with another due to filthy air.”

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