Road User Charging is the collective term we use to describe the following schemes that operate in London:

  • The Congestion Charge
  • The Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
  • The Ultra Low Emission Zone
  • Scrappage scheme

Personal information we hold

If you are registered for a London Road User Charging account, the personal information we hold will vary dependent upon any service(s), such as Auto Pay or a discount that you may have registered for.

Information we hold may include:

  • Title, name, address, email address, telephone number
  • Date of birth
  • Payment card details and/or bank account number and sort code
  • Password/memorable information
  • Vehicle Registration Marks (VRM)
  • Transaction/payment history
  • Proofs of eligibility for a discount

You can also pay road user charges online and by phone without registering. If you pay this way, we will need to collect your payment card details and the VRM of the vehicle you're paying for.

If you telephone our Road User Charging customer contact centre, your call will be recorded for training and quality purposes.

Legal basis for using your information

Under data protection legislation, TfL is only allowed to use personal information if we have a proper reason or 'legal basis' to do so. In the case of Road User Charging, there are a number of these 'legal grounds' we rely on, which are:

  • Our statutory and public functions:
    • to undertake activities to promote and encourage safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services, and to deliver the Mayor's Transport Strategy
  • For the 'performance of a contract:'
    • for example, where you have registered for an Auto Pay service; the scrappage scheme or
    • you have downloaded the app so we can provide additional services to you
  • Where you have given your consent to TfL:
    • for example where you have opted in to receive marketing messages from us or asked the contact centre to resolve an issue or complaint for you.

How we use your personal information

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras capture information whenever a vehicle travels within the Road User Charging zone. This includes an alpha-numeric 'read' of your Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM) and a photographic (still) image of your vehicle.

Our IT system checks whether the appropriate road user charge has been paid for that particular vehicle, or if it is eligible for a discount or exemption. If the charge has been paid or a discount/exemption applies, the VRM and images are deleted by midnight of the next working day.

All other images are retained for enforcement purposes or, in the case of vehicles registered to an autopay service, images are retained for the purposes of statement generation and account settlement.

If a vehicle is registered in the UK, and the charge has not been paid, TfL will obtain the details of the registered keeper from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and then issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). If the PCN continues to be unpaid, TfL takes steps for civil debt recovery. This includes registering the unpaid PCN at Northampton County Court and passing the debt to an enforcement agency to collect on our behalf. TfL works with debt recovery companies both in the UK, and overseas.

If a vehicle is registered overseas, we will obtain details of the registered keeper from the relevant official national or regional vehicle licensing authority.

In cases where we have issued a PCN in relation to a hire vehicle, we may receive information from the hire company that demonstrates you were in possession of the vehicle on the date the contravention occurred, and are therefore liable to pay the PCN.

TfL randomly selects and monitors vehicles benefitting from a road user charging discount or exemption, to identify possible fraud. If you persistently fail to pay any road user charges due or attempt to defraud TfL, we may record your vehicle's movements and use that data to support subsequent enforcement action.

The cameras used for London Road User Charging may also be used for general traffic monitoring. TfL fully anonymises all VRM data used for this purpose.

From time to time we may also send you travel related information about Road User Charging schemes operating in London. Examples of this might include consultations on proposed changes, or updates on the level of charges or hours of operation.

You will be able to unsubscribe from any or all of these messages at any time.

We will only send you information about TfL's offers and promotions if you choose to receive it. You will be able to change your marketing preferences at any time.

We will not pass your personal information on to any other organisation for marketing purposes without your prior consent. In addition we do not sell or rent personal data to third parties for this purpose.

Choosing not to provide information

If you choose not to provide any personal information to us, you will not be able to register, with TfL, for any service(s) such as Autopay or for a discount. These services, for example, require you to provide proof of eligibility or register a payment method with TfL.

Length of time we keep information

  • Details of each charge payment: 24 months from the date of the transaction (regardless of whether or not you are a registered customer)
  • ANPR data and images are automatically deleted after payment of the charge has been received or if your vehicle is registered for a discount or exemption
  • For Autopay customers, ANPR data and images are retained until after the account has been settled, usually a maximum period of two months
  • Details of a discount are retained for 40 months after the date the discount expires
  • Details of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) are retained for seven years after you paid the PCN (this will include images of the vehicle you were driving)

We retain your personal information for these time periods for the following reasons:

  • To respond to correspondence, concerns or complaints
  • To maintain records according to rules that apply to us (for example financial regulations)
  • To establish and defend any legal rights

Keeping personal information secure

We take the privacy of our customers very seriously, and a range of robust policies, processes and technical measures are in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, personal information associated with Road User Charging schemes. This includes payment card data which is handled in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard ('PCI DSS').

Find out how to protect your personal information.

Automated processing and profiling

Under data protection legislation we have to let you know when we do something 'automatically' using our computers or other systems, or make an automated decision (without human intervention) that significantly affects you.

When you drive within the Congestion Charge Zone, Ultra Low Emission Zone or Low Emission Zone, your vehicle's VRM is automatically captured by the road side cameras as described above.

The level of charge is automatically determined using details of the vehicle, as provided by the relevant vehicle licensing agency and/or by the customer.

Details of the registered keeper are also automatically retrieved from the DVLA (or overseas licensing agency) so that a PCN can be issued.

Before any PCN is processed, the details captured by the camera are manually checked by an individual.

This check requires the operator to validate the VRM being used for the PCN against the vehicle images captured by the camera and cross referencing against the vehicle make, model and colour details.

Each potential PCN is also checked by a second individual. If the two individuals do not agree then the case is escalated to a supervisor for a final decision.

Sharing your information

TfL has contracts with a number of third party service providers, which provide the majority of the administration and 'back office' services that ensure the efficient day-to-day operation of the Road User Charging schemes and the scrappage scheme. This includes the customer database, the installation and maintenance of the cameras, the secure IT connection to the DVLA and debt recovery services within the UK and overseas.

Different departments within TfL share information relevant to compliance with Road User Charging schemes. This includes details of vehicles licensed for private hire by TfL and which are in receipt of a Road User Charging discount or exemption.

If you pay your Road User Charges by Direct Debit, we will share your information with the Direct Debit scheme.

If you appeal against a Road User Charging Penalty issued by TfL, to the Environment and Traffic Adjudicators, or to the Road User Charging Adjudicators we will send them relevant information so that they can make their adjudication. We will send you a copy of this appeal pack at the same time.

If you fail to pay your penalty charge notice (PCN), we may apply to the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court to register the money owed as a debt, which allows us to take further steps to recover it. In order to do this we will share details of your PCN and other relevant information with them. We will send you a copy of the information at the same time.

If your PCN continues to be unpaid, we may pass the unpaid debt to an enforcement agent to collect the monies owed on TfL's behalf. As part of their activities, the enforcement agents may undertake certain checks to establish how likely it is they will be able to recover the debt from you. These are also known as 'propensity to pay' checks, and involves matching/checking the data of the registered keeper of the vehicle (who is liable to pay the PCN) with external data sources, including address and phone number databases, social media activity and email addresses.

If you have a query about your account, a service for which you have registered, or a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you have received and would like a third party to contact us on your behalf, we will only deal with them with your written permission

At our discretion, we may disclose personal data in response to valid requests from the police. Before we authorise any disclosure, the police have to demonstrate that the personal data concerned will assist them in the prevention or detection of a specific crime, or in the apprehension or prosecution of an offender. Each request from the police is dealt with on a strictly case-by-case basis to ensure that any such disclosure is lawful and in accordance with data protection legislation.

Overseas processing

TfL and its service providers process personal information relating to Road User Charging within the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA). Any such processing will be carried out in strict accordance with UK and EU privacy legislation and the appropriate contractual safeguards which TfL has put in place.

Police access to ANPR cameras

In 2012 the Mayor of London's Crime Manifesto included a commitment to instruct TfL to give the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) direct real time access to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras we use to enforce our Road User Charging schemes, for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime.

Following a public consultation, the MPS was given access to this data in 2015. No images of vehicles are provided. In effect, TfL and the MPS now share the network of Road User Charging cameras.

This was an expansion of a pre-existing arrangement with the MPS established in 2007, under which they were given access to TfL's ANPR data specifically for the purpose of using it to safeguard national security. This arrangement was approved by the Home Secretary, who signed a certificate confirming that TfL, and the MPS, are exempt from certain provisions of data protection legislation for that purpose.

Learn more about how the MPS uses ANPR cameras.

Mobile app

If you download and use the Road User Charging mobile app, certain information may be collected automatically, such as the type of mobile device you are using and unique identifier such as the device name or ID, Internet Protocol (IP) address, Media Access Control (MAC) address, and IMEI number.

We also use analytics (which is similar to cookies on websites) which are small files that capture anonymous data to help us improve the app's performance. We use them to collect information about your use of the app, such as what app content you access most frequently, or if you receive an error message when using the app.

If you opt in, we will also send you notifications via the app, or use location services to provide you with relevant information about your use of the scheme. You can change your mind at any time by amending the settings within your device

ULEZ mailouts

Between December 2018 and April 2019 we contacted people to tell them how the ULEZ is likely to affect their vehicles. This means we are emailed everyone who (in the previous 13 months) had paid the Congestion Charge (provided we had their email addresses). We are gave them information about the ULEZ, and advice about what to do if they think they may be affected.

In addition, from December 2018 until March 2019, we also contacted registered keepers of other vehicles seen by our cameras in the Congestion Charge zone who were not road user charging customers. We did this by checking the number plate of each vehicle to see whether it will meet the new emissions standards. This worked in the same way as our online vehicle checker.

If your vehicle is unlikely to meet ULEZ standards, we provided you with advice on what you need to do next.

To help achieve this we provided DVLA with the number plates of vehicles we saw and determined as non-compliant.

Their role was to identify the registered keepers of those vehicles - by matching the number plates against their database of registered keepers - which enabled us to contact you about it.

To protect your privacy as much as possible, TfL has not shared details of when or where your vehicle was seen and the DVLA has not provided TfL with any of your contact information.

We contacted people in this way because the law requires us to raise awareness of the ULEZ. We have to do everything we reasonably can to help people comply with the scheme.

Scrappage scheme

The scrappage scheme started in February 2019.

If you apply for the scheme you will need to create a Road User Charging account (if you don't already have one) and provide information about yourself, as well as your business or charity and your vehicle(s).

As with other aspects of our road user schemes, TfL must have proper legal grounds for handling any personal data that you provide for the scrappage scheme. 

In this case, the relevant 'legal basis' is that the use of your data is necessary for the 'performance of a contract'.

As part of meeting the eligibility criteria (as set out in the terms and conditions) for the Scheme, some applicants  are required to confirm they have driven their vehicle within the Central Congestion Charge Zone on a minimum of 52 occasions in the last six months before the commencement of the Scheme. If you have a Road User Charging Auto Pay account for the Congestion Charge, we will use the existing transaction records to verify this.

We may also verify the information you supply about your business, charity or vehicle with a number of third parties including Companies House, the Charity Commission, HMRC, the DVLA and against other public databases made available by the Government Digital Service.

If you do not use the funds issued to you in accordance with the scheme terms and conditions, we may seek to recover those funds, and share information with, or receive information from, other organisations in order to do this. 

TfL will retain information collected for administering the scrappage scheme in order to support the following purposes:

  • To respond to correspondence, concerns or complaints about the scrappage scheme
  • To maintain records according to rules that apply to us (for example financial regulations); and
  • To establish and defend any legal rights

Your information rights

Under data protection legislation you are entitled to ask to see any personal information that we hold about you.

If you are a registered customer, you can access and update your personal information by signing into your online account.

For access to other personal information held by TfL in connection with Road User Charging or the scrappage scheme, please see our page on how to access your data.

If you would like to unsubscribe from service or marketing messages, please use the link we include at the end of every email. You can also update your contact preferences within your online account - or by emailing unsubscribe@tfl.gov.uk at any time.

You also have a number of other information rights which include:

  • The right to question any information we have about you that you think is wrong or incomplete
  • The right to object to how we use your information or to ask us to delete or restrict how we use it.
  • In some cases, the right to receive a copy of your information in a format that you can easily re-use
  • The right to complain to our Data Protection Officer
  • The right to complain to the regulator - the Information Commissioner's Office

Changes to this page

It's likely that we'll need to update this statement from time to time, so check back here regularly to find out more. Your continued use of the site will mean that you accept those revisions. This page was last updated in April 2019.