U.S. Diplomats Top List of Unpaid London Traffic Charge Fines

(Bloomberg) -- The staff of U.S. Ambassador Woody Johnson IV owe the U.K. nearly 12 million pounds ($15.2 million) in unpaid congestion charges levied on vehicles in London. The U.K. isn’t expecting payment anytime soon.

Statistics released Tuesday showed U.S. diplomats topped the list of international missions flouting the 11.50-pound daily charge designed to reduce overcrowding and pollution on the capital’s roads. The fine for non-payment is 130 pounds, reduced to 65 pounds if paid within 14 days. As the U.S. has been racking up the fines since 2003, when the congestion charge was introduced, it’s likely to be charged at the higher rate.

U.S. Diplomats Top List of Unpaid London Traffic Charge Fines

Meanwhile Japanese diplomats owe more than eight million pounds, Nigerians nearly seven million pounds and the Russians owe 5.7 million. These charges are ignored as foreign missions claim they are a local tax for which they’re not liable.

In a very British fashion, the U.K. has tried asking politely for the money.

“The Director of Protocol raises the issue in his introductory meetings with all new ambassadors and high commissioners whose missions are in debt,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in a statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

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