Everything you need to know about toll roads and congestion zones
Here's all you need to know about the roads that charge you for the privilege of being in their presence.
Years ago, driving across the country was a long and arduous affair that took a large chunk out of your day.
But thanks to our network of bridges, motorways and bypasses, long-distance travel is a lot faster these days.
The only down side is that there’s often a price attached when using these roads.
Here’s a quick run-down of the most common toll roads in Britain and how much they’ll set you back.
Dartford Crossing – M25
Whether you’re using the bridge going clockwise or the tunnels going anti-clockwise, no ride around the M25 would be complete without the Dartford Crossing.
If you’re using the M25 between 6am and 10pm, you have to pay in order to cross.
How much is the toll on the M25?
|Type of vehicle||Single journey||Discounted price for account holders|
|Type of vehicle Cars (including trailers), motorhomes, passenger vans and buses with fewer than 9 seats||Single journey £2.50||Discounted price for account holders £1.67|
|Type of vehicle Two-axle goods vehicles (including vans)||Single journey £3.00||Discounted price for account holders £2.63|
|Type of vehicle Multi-axle goods vehicles||Single journey £6.00||Discounted price for account holders £5.19|
There are no toll booths at the Dartford Crossing, so you can’t pay as you cross. Instead, you need to use a system called Dart Charge.
If you’re a resident of Dartford or Thurrock, you’re eligible for a local resident discount.
M25 penalties for non-payment
If you don’t pay in advance, you have to pay the toll by midnight on the day you used the road.
If not, the penalty charge is £70 to be paid within 28 days. This is reduced to £35 for quick payment, and goes up to £105 if you miss the deadline.
Self-declared as the easiest way to navigate through the Midlands, the M6 toll runs from Junction 3a (The Coleshill Interchange) to Junction 11a (Wolverhampton) and bypasses the most congested parts of the M6.
How much is the toll on the M6?
Prices vary depending on what day and time it is – for a car travelling during daytime and paying in cash, the cost is £5.50. This cost decreases during the night, and some drivers are eligible for a 5% discount.
|Type of vehicle||Mon-Fri (6am - 11pm)||Sat-Sun (6am - 11pm)||Night (11pm - 6am)|
|Type of vehicleMotorbike||Mon-Fri (6am - 11pm)£3.00||Sat-Sun (6am - 11pm)£2.80||Night (11pm - 6am)£1.80|
|Type of vehicleCar||Mon-Fri (6am - 11pm)£5.90||Sat-Sun (6am - 11pm)£4.80||Night (11pm - 6am)£3.80|
|Type of vehicleCar and trailer||Mon-Fri (6am - 11pm)£10.00||Sat-Sun (6am - 11pm)£8.60||Night (11pm - 6am)£6.60|
|Type of vehicleHGV, van or coach||Mon-Fri (6am - 11pm)£11.00||Sat-Sun (6am - 11pm)£9.60||Night (11pm - 6am)£8.60|
You can pay as you exit the toll road, or to speed things up you can use the M6 Tag.
M6 penalties for non-payment
If you don’t pay the M6 Toll, you’ll be sent a payment notice. You have two working days to pay it, or you’ll be hit with a £10 fine.
Severn Crossing toll – M4/M48
When crossing from England into Wales, you’ve two choices – drive up to Gloucester and back down, or cross the River Severn at one of the two bridges.
How much is the toll on the Severn Crossing?
The tolls are the same for both crossings:
|Type of vehicle||Cost|
|Type of vehicleCars and buses up to nine seats||Cost £5.60|
|Type of vehicleVehicles between nine and 17 seats, goods vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes||Cost £13.20|
|Type of vehicle 18+ seats, goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes||Cost £19.80|
It was announced in the 2016 Budget that tolls on the Severn Crossing will be halved in 2018, meaning a toll of £3.30 for cars.
As the M4 and M48 crossings have manned toll booths after the bridge, all drivers must pay before they can continue. The Severn crossing also has a TAG system that allows you to cross without stopping.
Severn crossing penalty for non-payment
It’s a rare event where someone gets away without paying, but if they do the penalty is £85. This is reduced to £5 if it’s paid within seven days.
London congestion zone
The highly successful congestion charge has put London drivers in a huff for more than a decade, and shows no signs of stopping.
The zone extends from Marylebone in the north west down to Southward in the south east, encompassing Buckingham Palace and The Gherkin.
The London congestion zone is in effect between 7am and 6pm Monday-Friday, so you don’t have to pay on the weekends. The charge isn’t in force during bank holidays as well as the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The congestion charge costs £11.50 per day, but if you use Transport for London’s AutoPay system, this goes down to £10.50 per day. There’s a one-off fee of £10 to sign up to AutoPay.
Failing to pay the congestion charge could land you with a £160 fine. This goes down to £80 if you pay within 14 days, but goes up to £240 if you take longer than 28 days.
Durham City congestion zone
Though less famous than its big city cousin, the Durham congestion zone predates the London zone by a few months, and was the first to be introduced in the UK.
The congestion zone covers a small area near Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, and was introduced because the single road leading to both was built with horses and carts in mind rather than cars.
The charge is active between 10am and 4pm Monday – Saturday, and costs £2 per day.
If you don’t pay the charge by 6pm on the day you use the road, you’re liable for a £50 penalty fee.
Are there any toll roads in Scotland or Northern Ireland?
The short answer - no.
Scotland abolished all of its toll roads in 2008, and the only toll roads in Northern Ireland are when you cross the border into the Republic of Ireland. If you plan on driving in Ireland, be aware of these.
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First published on the 16th of May 2016