UK: Zim embassy owes London £800,000 in congestion charges

UK: Zim embassy owes London £800,000 in congestion charges

By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S UK embassy owes Transport for London (TfL) £800,000 for unpaid congestion charges, figures revealed Monday showed.

The debt relates to unpaid fees and fines accrued over the period 2003 to 2023 with the United States embassy owing the largest amount at about £14m.

TfL is responsible for most of the transport network and services across the British capital.

Zimbabwe embassy in London

The congestion scheme involves a £15 daily fee for driving within an area of central London between 07:00 and 18:00 on weekdays, and between noon and 18:00 on weekends and bank holidays.

According to the BBC, the American embassy said it believed they were exempt from the charge claiming it is a tax.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy said: “In accordance with international law as reflected in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, our position is that the congestion charge is a tax from which diplomatic missions are exempt.

“Our long-standing position is shared by many other diplomatic missions in London.”

However, in a statement TfL said; “We and the UK Government are clear that the Congestion Charge is a charge for a service and not a tax. This means that diplomats are not exempt from paying it.

“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.

“We will continue to pursue all unpaid Congestion Charge fees and related penalty charge notices and are pushing for the matter to be taken up at the International Court of Justice.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria has the largest debt of African embassies in London at £8.3 million followed by the Ghanaian mission which owes £5 million.

Of Zimbabwe’s neighbours, South Africa owes £1.9 million, Zambia £1.1 million, Mozambique £864,000 and Malawi £842,000.