Will your old van be allowed in London Low Emission Zone from Jan 2012?

Old van - no good for London's L.E.Z.

If you drive a van inside the M25 and it is before a 51 plate, then you have a very good chance of attracting a £200 a day charge for the privilege from January 2012.

Boris and Ken before him have decided that commercial vehicles are easier targets than voting car drivers when it comes to cleaning up the nation’s capital city.

Trucks have been running under the scheme since 2008 and the noose is tightening there – you will no longer be able to drive a truck made prior to a ‘56’ reg without some serious exhaust pipe filters added.

So what can you do?

Well, you can buy a new van – the van makers are offering scrappage deals to people who are directly effected by the new zone.  See previous articles Vauxhall Now Offers Discounts for LEZ Vans and LEZ Deals on Ford Transits and Citroen Berlingos from Van Makers and £2000 CASHBACK OFFERS ON NEW PEUGEOT BOXER VANS and London LEZ Deals on Volkswagen Crafters.   

If your budget doesn’t even stretch to a discounted new van, then at the moment the signs are good for used van prices at auction – they are coming down – read USED VAN PRICES FALL FURTHER AT AUCTION.  There are plenty of vans for sale on the Vanlocator website if you are looking to buy a van privately of from a dealer.

The final option – and it is only one if you can’t bear to part with your cherished boneshaker – is to get a diesel particulate filter (DPF) fitted to it.  Thanks to the £2,500+VAT price tag these systems will probably only be installed by motorhome owners and ice cream vans that are expensive to replace and do not cover many miles inside the M25. (Although motorhome drivers should note that many European cities already have low emission zones).

The L.E.Z. is concerned about the particulate matter (PM) or soot, in common parlance.  It is this stuff that gives us lung cancer and is not particularly nice.  These advanced DPFs remove this soot and remove it using a catalyst and very high temperatures.

They are not without issues (the £2,500+VAT price tag to one side).  They need regular maintenance and cleaning, which is usually something that can’t be carried out by the hobby amateur – certain filters have to be sent away and put into an industrial oven overnight and that doesn’t come cheap!

The message is loud and clear – if you own a specialist van that is worth adding a DPF shop around – there are about six different systems, all offering something slightly different.  If you are driving an old banger – change it now before the stock of cheap qualifying replacements runs out and prices of used vans start to rise again.

Or sell your van and buy a car.

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