The British Foreign Office has revealed that several foreign embassies, including Sri Lanka, have not paid the required congestion charges related to driving and parking in London. The outstanding fees amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The London Congestion Charge is imposed on most vehicles traveling within the Central London congestion charge zone between 7 am and 6 pm.
David Rutley, Deputy Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the British Parliament, provided a written response to the Parliament, stating that the total debt owed by foreign diplomatic offices in the country exceeds £145 million. The Sri Lanka High Commission in London is among those entities with outstanding payments, owing £652,120 to the British government.
Rutley emphasized that diplomats are obligated under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to adhere to the laws and regulations of the host state. Therefore, the British government expects all diplomatic missions, including those of Sri Lanka, to comply with UK laws and regulations, including the payment of congestion charges.
Several other countries, including the United States, Japan, Poland, France, and Germany, are also listed as owing congestion charge fees to the UK.