Holidaymaker hoping for a ‘relatively cheap’ break is hit with £2,000 fine after driving his motorhome through London’s low emission zone to a campsite within the M25 over Easter weekend

  • Geoffrey Eaton, 53, from Colchester, said it has ruined his family’s holiday plans 
  • Read more: Woman ‘unfairly’ fined after briefly stopping in disabled parking spot

A self-employed architect was hit with a £2,000 fine after driving his motorhome through London’s low emission zone on the way to a campsite for his holiday.

Geoffrey Eaton, 53, from Colchester, travelled to the capital on the Friday of Easter weekend with his wife Linda, 53, and their two children Adam, 16, and Elizabeth, 13, for what was supposed to be a ‘relatively cheap’ day out.

However, Mr Eaton was then left with a ‘very nasty surprise’ after receiving a penalty notice from Transport for London demanding he pay £2,000.

‘We haven’t been abroad in six years and this two grand fine would have completely scuppered our summer holidays,’ he told the Independent.

‘It came at the worst time because our heating and electricity bills have gone up and up, it’s crippling us left, right and centre.’

Geoffrey Eaton, 53, from Colchester, was fined £2,000 after driving his motorhome through London’s low emission zone

The low emissions zone is designed to restrict or deter the access of some polluting vehicles

Mr Eaton made two five-mile journeys within the zone to and from a campsite in Abbey Wood, which he was charged £300 for each time. 

However, he said he was unaware the zone extended past the capital’s North and South Circular roads and did not see any warning signs. 

He added that he only realised he made the mistake when the penalty notice came through the mail a week later on April 18.

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By that time the cost of each journey had been hiked up to £1,000 because of a late payment for the charges.

This then left the 53-year-old with no other option but to pay using his credit card, which has scuppered his holiday plans for the rest of the year. 

He thought he had hit the jackpot when he discovered a campsite in Abbey Wood where he could leave his 2.8L engine Laika Ecovip motorhome while he and his family explored China Town, Covent Garden and the Royal Festival Hall.

However, the low emissions zone – which is different to the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) – deters access to some polluting vehicles such as Mr Eaton’s motorhome that falls into the 3.5 tonnes or more category.

The self-employed architect was told if he did not pay the £2,000 fine before May 1 it would double to £4,000.

Describing the cost of the fine, Mr Eaton added: ‘If I’ve got to pay £100 for me to be stupid and not realise I went into the zone, then I would have paid that.

‘But £2,000, that’s like a month’s salary – It’s a huge amount of money.

‘We could have had a room in The Shard and instead we stayed in the motorhome for two nights.’

TfL have since agreed a ‘discretionary refund’ of £1,400.

A TfL spokesperson said: ‘When people face significant penalty charges we offer support and suggest a manageable way of settling outstanding amounts.

‘We have discussed this with Mr Eaton and he is happy with the outcome.

‘The low emission zone (LEZ) has been in place since 2008 and is well established. All entry points to the zone are signed and there are advance warning signs ahead of these.

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