Have your say on proposed changes to increase the penalty charge for drivers

Closes 10 Nov 2017

Opened 4 Sep 2017

Overview

London’s roads are vital in supporting our city and allowing it to function.  They enable people to travel, including by bus or cycle, and they support trade and employment in our city.  They link our communities and have a significant effect on our quality of life.  Traffic congestion on our roads harms our environment, making our communities less pleasant places to be.  It affects the quality of our air and can impede economic growth.  It is in everyone’s interest that our roads function efficiently and that traffic is kept moving smoothly.

One tool at our disposal to keep traffic moving is to issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) for ‘contraventions’ of the Red Route network (ie. those roads we manage) or Congestion Charging zone.  Doing so encourages road users to drive responsibly, to the benefit of everyone.  We invest every penny we raise from issuing PCNs back into London’s road and public transport network.

To help keep our roads moving and as part of the Mayor’s vision to make streets safer and more welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists, we have developed a proposal to increase the cost of a PCN. This will ensure it remains an effective deterrent, including against poor or inconsiderate driving which can cause delays and make our streets less safe.

We would like to know your thoughts. The deadline for comments is Friday 10 November 2017.

Click on any of the links below to go directly to a specific section of this consultation:

The Congestion Charging zone and red route network
The effects of congestion
Enforcing for Congestion Charge and red route network
Our proposal
Further reading
Next steps
Have your say

The Congestion Charging zone and red route network

We are responsible for managing both the Congestion Charging zone and London’s network of ‘red routes’. London’s Local Authorities are responsible for managing the remainder of our city’s roads.

The Congestion Charging zone is an area of central London where it is necessary to pay the Congestion Charge in order to drive a vehicle from 07:00 – 18:00, Monday to Friday.  The map below shows the extent of the zone:

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

If we detect a vehicle within the zone which does not pay the charge by midnight the following charging day, and which is not exempt or does not have a valid discount in place, we will issue a PCN to the registered ‘keeper’ of that vehicle. The current cost of a PCN is £130, although a 50 per cent discount applies if it is paid within 14 days, reducing the cost to £65.  If the PCN is not paid or challenged within 28 days, the cost increases to £195.  Further information about how we enforce PCNs is available on our website.

The red routes are a network of strategic roads in London which carry 30 per cent of London’s traffic, but which make up only five per cent of the city’s roads.  On average, each of London’s red routes carries 50,000 vehicles per day.  This is two and a half times the volume of traffic carried on key A roads managed by London’s Local Authorities.  The map below shows the extent of the network:

Click here for a larger version of the above map (PDF)

Our priority in managing London’s red routes is to keep traffic moving. To this end, restrictions on the red route network are designed to discourage stopping or parking where it would be dangerous or disruptive to other road users. For example, it is not permitted to park or stop on a double-red line at any time or on a single-red line at certain times (although vehicles displaying a Blue Badge can stop to set down or pick up the holder of the Blue Badge). It is also not permitted for anyone to stop in a yellow box junction or drive in a bus lane during its hours of operation. Further information about the restrictions on the red route network is available on our website.

If we detect a vehicle stopping or parking illegally on the red route network, we will issue a PCN.  The cost of a PCN for a contravention of the red route network is the same as for failing to pay the Congestion Charge.

The effects of congestion

The Congestion Charging Zone and Red Route network are crucial to the functioning of our city. 

Traffic congestion delays journeys and can prevent businesses from operating efficiently, damaging the potential for economic growth or the creation of new jobs in our city.  It has been estimated that the cost of congestion on the Red Route network alone is worth almost £2.2 billion (Source: Total vehicle delay for London 2014-15, published by TfL).

Congestion also has an environmental consequence since vehicle engines work much less efficiently in slow, ‘stop-start’ traffic conditions, and generate greater levels of harmful emissions.

TfL and London’s boroughs have a duty to keep traffic flowing smoothly in London.  In the future, as the population of our city grows, the need to keep our road network functioning efficiently will become ever more important.  We constantly strive to manage traffic efficiently and reduce congestion and its harmful effects.

Enforcing the Congestion Charge and red route network

The cost of a PCN for failing to pay the Congestion Charge has remained unchanged for four years.  The cost of a PCN for contraventions of the red route network has stayed the same since 2011. Over the last few years however, there have been an increasing number of contraventions of the rules of the red route network and the Congestion Charging zone.  It has therefore been necessary for us to issue an increasing number of PCNs. This is shown in the chart below:

Taking all of the PCNs we issued in 2011 for non-payment of the Congestion Charge as a whole, almost 60 per cent were to ‘repeat offenders’ who had received at least one PCN from us previously. By 2016 almost 65 per cent of all the PCNs we issued for non-payment of the Congestion Charge were to road users who had received at least one from us previously that year.

Year

% of all PCNs issued to repeat offenders

2011

59.9%

2012

59.7%

2013

61.7%

2014

61.9%

2015

62.1%

2016

64.1%

Almost 35 per cent of the PCNs we issued in 2011 for contraventions of the red route network were to road users who had received at least one PCN from us previously. By 2016 this had grown to nearly 40 per cent.

Year

% of all PCNs issued to repeat offenders

2011

33.6%

2012

35.7%

2013

36.6%

2014

35.3%

2015

36.5%

2016

38.3%

This information demonstrates two things. Firstly, the prospect of receiving a PCN is not as significant a deterrent against poor driving behaviour as it has been in the past. Inflation over the last few years, together with the fact that the cost of a PCN has stayed the same, may have reduced the deterrent effect of receiving a PCN. Second, there is a significant and growing minority of road users who persist either in attempting to avoid paying the Congestion Charge, or using the red route network in a way which is dangerous or disruptive to others.

Our proposal

We believe that it is necessary to think very carefully about the cost of a PCN, to ensure it is once again considered an effective deterrent. 

We propose increasing the cost of a PCN both for failing to pay the Congestion Charge and contravening of the rules of the red route network.

We propose that the cost of a PCN should be increased to £160, an increase of £30.  The opportunity to pay the PCN at a 50 per cent discount within 14 days will remain in place, with a discount to £80. Should the PCN not be paid or challenged within 28 days, the cost would increase to £240.

We would like to know your thoughts and have prepared a questionnaire we would like you to consider.  We would like to know whether you think it might be possible to encourage road users to obey the rules of the road in any way other than increasing the cost of a PCN, or whether you believe that any particular group of road users would be unfairly disadvantaged by our proposal.

Further reading

We have prepared an Impact Assessment, to enable us to understand the likely impacts of our proposal to increase the cost of PCNs.  A Variation Order is also avilable which if confirmed by the Mayor, would enable us to increase the cost of PCNs for contraventions of the Congestion Charging zone.

The Impact Assessment, Variation Order and a copy of the information on this website are also available to inspect in person during normal office hours from the address below. 

Transport for London
Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road,
Southwark
SE1 8NJ

(Please ask for Andrew Miles, Consultation Specialist)

Next steps

Once the consultation has closed on Friday 10 November we will collate all of the responses received and begin preparing a Consultation Report, setting out all of the issues raised. The Mayor will consider all of the points raised and will then decide, whether or not to increase the cost of a PCN. Depending on the Mayor’s decision, we would put in place any increase shortly after his decision. 

We will announce the Mayor’s decision as soon as he has made it, and make clear additionally when any increase might take place. We will also publish our Consultation Report in full at this time. 

Should the Mayor decide to increase the cost of PCNs issued for contraventions of the rules of the red route network, he must notify the Secretary of State for Transport, who may object if he considers them to be excessive. If he does so, the increased level may not be introduced until the Secretary of State withdraws this objection. The Secretary of State must exercise his reserve powers within 28 days of being notified. The Secretary of State does not have the same power of veto over the level of PCNs issued in respect of non-payment of the Congestion Charge.

Have your say

We would like to know what you think about our proposal.

Please give us your views by completing the online survey below by Friday 10 November 2017.

Alternatively, you can:

You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk, or writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.

 

Have your say

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Roads
  • Congestion charge
  • Red routes
  • Penalty Charge Notice