Startling LEZ update for motorhomers
London transport bosses have confirmed that if a motorhome doesn’t meet qualifying emissions criteria for LEZ exemption, the owner could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
The LEZ, which is already in place for HGVs, will be expanded from January 3, 2012. From then, motorhomes with a GVW of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes will be affected. To be exempt from the daily charge and from running the risk of a substantial fine for entering the zone, motorhome owners must ensure their ‘van complies.
But, following MMM’s report on the London LEZ (April 2011, p28), we looked at what would happen if a non-compliant motorhome was diverted into the zone after a traffic accident or other incident. This means the motorhome would be in the zone through no fault of the driver. What would happen should the driver accidentally stray from the diversion route due to lack of local knowledge, or if the motorhome was still in the zone when the diversion was lifted?
Once inside the LEZ, which rings London inside the M25 (visit www.tfl.gov.uk/lezlondon for a map), enforcement cameras would read the registration plate. Automatic computer software would compare that against a database of exempt vehicles, find it wasn’t listed and issue a PCN. The registered keeper would be sent a £500 fine – reduced to £250 if paid within two weeks – through no fault of his or her own.
A Transport for London (TfL), spokesman said: “We have diversion procedures in place to deal with just such emergencies, and agreements with the Metropolitan Police, Highways Agency and others to ensure we are informed of all diversions.” He was unable to provide details of how many times the policy had been used since the LEZ launch in 2008.
TfL’s advice is to follow the diversion and continue to your destination. If you have been issued with a PCN it will arrive by post within two weeks. You will then have to challenge it through the representations and appeals process, details of which are included with the PCN. Keep a record of the time you entered and left the zone and the route you followed, including the entry and exit points. State that you were being diverted off your normal route. If the initial appeal is rejected, you can contact the Parking And Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS), an independent body.
TfL has confirmed it will issue an initial warning letter when a non-compliant vehicle is caught on camera for the first time in the LEZ. The owner has 28 days to modify the vehicle. If it’s spotted again in the zone after the 28 days have expired, a PCN will be issued.