Boris urged to write to Obama over C-Charge

The London Assembly has upped the ante in the Congestion Charge row with London’s embassies by urging the Mayor to pile the pressure on non-paying missions.

A motion agreed by the Assembly has called on Boris Johnson to write to the head of state of each country that has boycotted paying the tolls and fines – a list that includes President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel – and to demand an explanation.

The Assembly has also demanded that the responses from the world’s leaders are published on City Hall’s website.

Lib Dem Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said: “The US and other embassies that dodge payment are insulting their host city and denying an income to Transport for London. They must explain how they can justify their actions.”

There is at least £28 million outstanding in unpaid tolls and fines by foreign embassies, a figure growing by the month, the Assembly was told.

Around 50 missions (around 30 per cent) refuse to pay the charge, claiming it is a local tax from which they are exempt under the Vienna Conventions. The worst ‘offenders’ include the embassies of the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan.