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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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I don't want this to turn into another debate on the rights or wrongs of emissions, I'm looking for answers in trying to avoid charges and don't care if anyone thinks it is right or wrong to avoid charges ;-)

As some here know I go on a forum for imported (from Japan) Nissan Elgrands. There's been some talk on there about original Nissan emission figures for petrol Elgrands (from 2002 onward) stating low enough figures that they should in theory be able to avoid having to pay the London ULEZ charges (?). Being imports there is no 'Euro4' etc rating for these cars and the emissions data sections on the V5 are usually blank... which is a good thing in one way in that owners don't have to pay the higher road fund duty but might be a a bad thing in another way if this is the issue that means having to pay ULEZ charges.

Several people have tried to get an exemption from ULEZ charges by sending 'evidence' of low emissions to TFL Transport For London but TFL ask for a signed letter from the vehicle manufacturer (technical department was mentioned) to support the emissions figures, the signed letter has to include the UK registration number and VIN number. Nissan don't know the reg number of the exported Elgrand and refuse to send such letters anyway. People have tried sending copies of Nissan documentation and letters from dealers but TFL refuse to accept anything but the signed letter from the manufacturer's technical dept.

Some people are trying a different tack, they have got a vignette for Paris and similar for Berlin and intend on asking TFL if these will suffice as evidence of low enough emissions. I note that nobody has tried this for an LPG converted Elgrand and IIRC their Paris vignette is a higher figure than Gilbert's vignette for Paris for his P38.

Anyone know (particularly Gilbert) if the Vignette tack is likely to work? Or any other way around it?

Side subject of the Paris / Berlin Vignette... Will not having a Euro rating or emissions figures on the V5 (boiling down to them being imports) effect the grading or application for such vignette if the Elgrand is LPG converted?

I nearly quoted one of Gilbert's posts on the subject of Vignettes but I don't know if it would be needed as a reference in any reply.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Having done an awful lot of research into this in the last few weeks for work, I can answer all questions. As our resident petrolhead, I've been tasked with identifying what vehicles we replace our current fleet with, and believe me, it isn't simple....

As far as the Congestion Charge goes, that is quite simple. You can apply for an exemption (and pay a one-off £10 fee) if the vehicle is Euro 6 petrol or diesel and is capable of at least 20 miles at zero emissions. That means it MUST be either full electric, hydrogen or plug-in hybrid. We've got an office within the CC zone with a pool car kept there. That one will be replaced with a plug-in as currently it cops for the CC every time it leaves the office car park so is costing around £150 a month on CC alone..

The French and German schemes go on date of registration, rather than Euro figure stated on the V5 or equivalent (although they coincide with the introduction dates for the various Euro standards) and type of fuel. A gas powered vehicle automatically gets the same classification as a plug-in hybrid, see https://www.lez-france.fr/en/information-about-the-critair-vignette/the-french-vignette-critair/who-will-get-which-critair-colours.html. That's why I've got Classe 1 on my P38 when if it was on petrol it would be Classe 3.

The next bit is conjecture but I understand from a mate who was considering buying a Jap import P38, that an import, as it doesn't have any emissions details on the V5, is automatically exempt from the ULEZ charge. Or at least it was when it was called the T Charge but it may now have changed. Easiest way to find out if that is still the case would be to put your registration number into the London ULEZ checker at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle-35896. While I don't drive into Central London in my car, it is proposed that the ULEZ will extend to all areas within the North and South Circular roads in late 2020. I keep meaning to write to TFL and see if they would consider an exemption for LPG powered vehicles. Using the French scheme as an example, the fact that there used to be the Powershift Register making LPG powered vehicles exempt from the CC (which I suspect was dropped as it only included a very tiny minority of vehicles) and Sadiq Khan offering grants to taxi drivers to convert, it has to be worth a try.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Thanks very much Gilbert.

Everyone who has checked (reg number into the ULEZ checker) has found that their imported car isn't exempt.

There was a third tack I didn't mention... Getting the emissions figures section filled in on the V5 should be all the proof TFL need. It's not a tack people want to use because if successful it will also be all the proof DVSA need to charge higher road fund licence and they'd do that by default. It could still work out cheaper overall for people who go inside the ULEZ often but how do we get emissions figures on V5s changed? Would expect DVSA to ask for the same unobtainable signed letter that TFL ask for.

It would be great if LPG cars were exempt from Lonodn ULEZ charges. Leeds is doing something like that for taxi drivers but with the proviso the car is a late model late Euro emissions version... so the proviso points mostly to an LPG converted direct injection car, which as we know presents the problem of LPG converting a direct injection car. It has occurred to me that for taxi drivers it could be worth an LPG conversion even if the LPG conversion doesn't work properly!

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I registered a 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed that had originally been supplied to Russia with DVLA. That involved an IVA test and as the emissions aren't checked (other than to MoT standards) at the IVA, there were no emission details shown on the V5. It was subsequently sold to a buyer in Holland and the Dutch authorities refused to transfer it to Dutch registration without the emission figures, particularly the CO2 grams per kilometre (the one that dictates how much road tax you pay over here), being shown. I downloaded the UK brochure for that particular model which showed the emissions and asked Bentley to supply me with a letter confirming that the emissions on a Russian spec car were the same as on a UK spec car. That was enough for DVLA to add the missing details. But of course that relies on being able to get the figures from the manufacturer. If Nissan won't issue a letter, then you are stuffed.

If imports are no longer exempt that means that when it was called the T Charge a lack of information meant you were exempt, now a lack of information means you aren't. Unless the vehicle is taxed as Historic, i.e. over 40 years old, so we've got to wait a bit longer before we can use that as a way round it.

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FWIW Simon, the Galaxy you saw recently, is ULEZ compliant. At least their checker shows it is, and others of the same model seem the same as well when I checked, even if its only Euro 3 rated. Which surprised me for a 2001 vehicle. So its possible certainly and not as clear cut as it being 2006 onwards that the website at first suggests. CC is not so easy but at least that takes half of the cost off of it.

Bear in mind that even if you manage to get round the ULEZ though, that alot of the on-street parking has a +50% loading on the normal rate for older vehicles. Which can mean its costing approx £6.50 an hour to park on the street as well (which with something the size of the Elgrand might be the only place you could park it)

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Some London Borough's, and the number is increasing all the time, load the parking charges for diesels too. For me to go into Central London in my works 2015 Renault Kangoo van costs £10.50 Congestion Charge, £12.50 ULEZ charge (as it's only Euro 4, Euro 6 didn't come in until 2016) and then a minimum of £6 an hour to park the pile of crap. Not sure how they can justify charging someone extra to park it when they are already paying extra because of the emissions. At least when it's parked it isn't generating any pollution (other than visual as it's a bloody ugly looking thing too).

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Yeah sorry, should have defined that a bit better - older petrols, and most diesels (pre 2016 I think currently?)

Theres several reasons I try to avoid driving that far into London and use the tube instead, even if it is a pain carrying a rucksack of tools and another bag with me, its still preferable to driving in and trying to find somewhere to park.

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I don't care about it. I'm getting paid whether I'm sitting in traffic or going round in endless circles looking for somewhere to park..If I get a job in EC, it can take me at least 2 hours to get there, another half hour to find somewhere to park then 2 hours to get home again. So that's 4.5 hours out of a 7 hour working day meaning I only have to do 2.5 hours work.......

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You missed your lunch break out of the calculation there! Different situation can understand why it works for you, its the moving the car repeatedly in some places that annoys me more as there just isn't anywhere you can leave it for more than a couple of hours.

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I rarely stop for a lunch break, I eat a sarnie while driving. The sort of work I'm doing I will rarely need to park for more than 2 hours in one place anyway, so that isn't so much of a problem. What I don't understand is the resident permit holders only areas when that only works during the daytime. During the day there's loads of spaces as the residents have gone to work but anyone can park there at night. If I lived there and was paying for a residents permit, I'd be well pissed off if I got home from an evening out and found nowhere to park. My logic is that it should be residents parking at night but during the day if the residents aren't there then anyone should be able to park there.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Got my mind on other things at the moment so will come back to this later, thanks for the replies again Richard and Bri,
Haven't had a lunch break in a long time... plenty 5 / 10 mins out for a fag break and catch up with admin / forums / emails etc though!