Can I Drive a Motorhome in UK Low Emission & Clean Air Zones?
The joys of motorhome and campervan ownership come from having the freedom to head off the beaten track and to escape to idyllic locations in the countryside, or on the beach. Wide open spaces, big skies, no light pollution, no noise, fresh air, these are the typical environments that motorhome owners expect from their chosen destinations.
Depending upon where you live, to get to the perfect destination is likely to involve some travelling on busy roads and whilst most motorways bypass large cities, if you choose to or need to stop off on route you will need to be mindful of the emerging clean air zones across the UK, so that you can factor these into your journey planning.
London Congestion Charging and Ultra Low Emission Zones
London was the first UK City to introduce a congestion charge which came into effect on 17th February 2003. This was subsequently followed by the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Very few motorhome and campervan owners are affected by the current arrangements, as central London, isn’t a place typically visited in a leisure vehicle. Most motorhome owners visiting the capital park up outside and commute into the centre using public transport.
With effect from 25th October 2021 the existing ULEZ is expanding. Further details of the ULEZ can be found here.
Where are the UK Clean Air Zones?
Clean air zones are being rolled out across the country to help combat the environmental impact of internal combustion engines on inhabitants of large cities. The changes impact most vehicle categories and are not designed to target any specific vehicle type. The immediate impact of clean air zones on motorhome and campervan owners alike is currently very limited. Motorhome owners of modern low emission diesel powered vehicles can drive into clean air zones without penalty. Motorhome owners of certain types of older vehicles can drive into the zones but are typically subject to a charge.
At the time of writing, October 2021, in addition to the London ULEZ, clean air zones are also in operation in Bath and Birmingham. A clean air zone is being rolled out in Portsmouth next month. Other cities around the country are in various stages of planning/consultation in rolling out their clean air zones, such as Newcastle which intends to introduce their clean air zone in 2022.
Can I drive my motorhome in a clean Air Zone?
For the vast majority of motorhome owners, at this current time clean air zones shouldn’t cause any issues whatsoever as the zones are restricted to cities and/or areas which are densely populated and wouldn’t typically be on a normal UK motorhome road trip route. Before heading off on a longer journey through unfamiliar locations, it’s advisable to check whether any of waypoints on your route are clean air zones so that you can either avoid them, or if you need to enter them that you have made the necessary payment and that you’ve factored this into your route plan.
Clean air zones how do they affect me and my motorhome?
For the time being and the foreseeable future, unless you live in London or another city which has a clean air zone, you can choose not to be affected by avoiding the finite clean air zone completely. Depending on the age of your vehicle and the type of diesel engine that powers your motorhome, you may have to pay to drive your vehicle into the controlled zone should you choose to or need to.
If you do live in a controlled zone, you might decide to review and change your motorhome storage arrangements so that your vehicle never enters the zone. This approach would definitely minimise any charges you could incur for driving your motorhome in the clean air zone.
Keeping you covered wherever you travel in your motorhome
Our motorhome and campervan insurance policies cover you wherever you choose to drive, whether it be in the UK or Europe. We provide cover for thousands or motorhome owners who choose to store their vehicles securely away from their homes. If you’re looking for cover for your home from home on wheels, why not give us a call on 0208 984 0666 to find out how we can help you. Alternatively, you can get an online quote in no time at all. Please click here to find out more.
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We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £200!