In 2003 the Mayor of London and Transport for London introduced a Congestion Charge payable by all drivers entering central London. The principle aims of the charge are to reduce congestion and provide funding for London’s vital transport network.
The zone was later enlarged to cover parts of west London and the daily fee subsequently increased from £5 to £8.
Although Embassies are required under the scheme’s terms to pay the fee a large number, including the US Embassy, refuse to do so claiming the charge is a tax from which they’re exempt.
Despite the US Embassy’s current refusal it has previously paid the fee, undermining their current refusal to do so in the eyes of many critics.
As of January 2012 the amount of Congestion Charge fees and penalties owed by foreign embassies was almost £60 million with the US Embassy the worst offender, owing in excess of £6 million.