Ghana High Commission on list of diplomats including US & China who owe £143m in London congestion charges
Ghana High Commission on list of diplomats including US & China who owe £143m in London congestion charges
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Ghana High Commission on list of diplomatic missions who owe £143m in London congestion charges

Foreign embassies in London owe more than £143 million to Transport for London (TfL) in unpaid congestion charges, new figures have revealed.

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The US Embassy tops the list from 2003 to December 31, 2023, with an outstanding bill of £14.6 million, followed by the Japanese Embassy at £10.1 million and the High Commission of India at £8.6 million.

Nigeria ranks fourth with £8.4 million in unpaid fees, while China rounds out the top five with £7.9 million.

The High Commission of Ghana owes £5,001,105.

Overall, foreign embassies owe a total of £143.5 million in unpaid fees and fines accumulated since the congestion charge was introduced in 2003.

The issue stems from a dispute over whether the charge is a tax, which diplomatic missions argue they are exempt from under international law.

The congestion charge is a £15 daily fee for driving within central London between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays, and between noon and 6 pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Discounts and exemptions are available for residents, taxis, and fully electric cars.

TfL maintains that the charge is a fee for service, not a tax, and therefore diplomats are required to pay.

"The majority of embassies in London do pay the charge, but there remains a stubborn minority who refuse to do so, despite our representations through diplomatic channels," TfL stated.

They added that they are continuing to pursue all unpaid fees and are advocating for the issue to be addressed by the International Court of Justice.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in London reiterated their position, citing the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which they interpret as exempting diplomatic missions from such charges.

This stance is shared by several other diplomatic missions in London.

In February 2020, former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed in a written ministerial statement that officials had contacted numerous diplomatic missions and international organisations to press for payment of outstanding congestion charges, parking fines, and business rates.

Attached below is a list of all the embassies that owe the TfL;

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