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Traffic in London

Photo: IMAGO/Zoonar.com/Nataliia Zhekova / IMAGO/Zoonar

According to the British government, foreign diplomats owe the city of London a total of more than 145 million pounds (168.77 million euros) in fees because of the congestion charge. There is no legal reason for diplomatic missions and international organisations to be exempt from the so-called congestion charge, which applies to the inner city area of the British capital, said Foreign Secretary David Rutley in a written statement to Parliament.

According to Rutley, it is a toll or parking fee that must be paid according to international rules. Diplomats, on the other hand, see the congestion charge as a tax from which they are exempt.

15 pounds per day

According to the British government, since the introduction of the congestion charge in 2003, the US embassy alone has unpaid bills of £14.64 million, ahead of Japan with just over £10 million and the High Commissioner for India with £8.5 million. The German embassy is therefore in eleventh place on the list with 4.63 million pounds.

The fee is £15 per day for each vehicle travelling in the inner city area around Parliament, British Museum and Trafalgar Square during core hours.

Authorities around the world, especially in capital cities, complain that diplomats and embassy staff do not pay their parking tickets and other offenses – taking advantage of the fact that they cannot be prosecuted because of their immunity. As a result, thousands of traffic violations cannot be prosecuted in Berlin every year.