London's Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and motorhomes
Aimed primarily at haulage and bus companies, this initiative was brought into place to encourage cleaner vehicles in the city, however motorcaravans were also specifically included in the scheme.
The zone itself is mostly inside the M25, and although the motorway can occasionally dip into the zone, you will never be charged travelling on the M25.
You'd think London wouldn't be the first choice for a motorhome holiday, however two of the Caravan Club's sites are situated within the zone.
So who's subject to this charge? This only applies to motorhomes with diesel engines. If your motorhome was registered before the 1st of January 2002, then you are safe for now, no charges for you. Same applies if your van is less than 2.5 tonnes GVW.
If however you don't fit these categories and your motorhome has a GVW of over 2.5 tonnes, you have to make sure your engine complies with Euro III standards. If it does then you're exempt from the charge for now. If it doesn't you will need to pay the low emissions zone charge. The daily charge is £200, and you could be fined a further £500 if you don't pay in advance, 24/7, 365 days of the year, so be sure to check your vehicle online at www.tfl.gov.uk/lezlondon for peace of mind, and to be sure you wont be charged.
If your motorhome doesn't fit the new legislation, you have a number of options:
- Simply avoid the LEZ in your motorhome. There are only a select number of sites within London and we all want to avoid the hustle and bustle of a city at times.
- If you have to travel there, be sure to pay the charge. It's £200 per day, and you don't want a further £500 on top of that as a fine.
- Trade in your motorhome for a Euro III model or better. Upgrade to a cleaner, more fuel efficient and more modern model if you frequently travel in the LEZ, and you'll reap the benefits long term.
- If you are big on DIY and good with mechanics, you can always fit an engine that complies with the LEZ standards. You'll have to inform the DVLA of this to avoid the charges, and have your motorhome certified before you drive, so getting it done professionally might be the best option. Better still upgrade it to a LPG engine for better fuel efficiency.
- Fit a DPF (diesel particulate filter). This is likely to be the most popular choice, and one that Transport for London thinks around 2,000 others may be opting for. Prices vary for different ages and types of vehicle, but roughly you are looking at £2,500 to £3,000 including fitting. Be warned though, this is not a DIY job, as the DPF reaches from the engine to affect the dashboard, warning lights and filter monitering system. The DPF itself will require annual servicing at around £250. For more infomation visit www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/lez/17701.aspx#tkt-tab-panel-1
- Some older motorhomes are powered by petrol engines (modern motorhomes are all based on diesel vehicles), which do not have to comply with the LEZ emissions standards and therefore no charge will apply. However these older vehicles can be slow and thirsty on fuel, so test drive first.
Although the UK is the only city in England to employ such a policy, Germany have over 40 cities in use, and the initiative is also present in Holland and Denmark. For more infomation be sure to check out www.lowemissionzones.eu for zone maps and vehicle checks.
Travelling to London? Click here for information about campsites in the London area.