Gentleman Jack

See other Advice articles filed in ‘General motorhome advice’ written by Gentleman Jack
With revised road tax charges for new vehicles coming into force from 1 April 2017, what does this mean for motorcaravanners? Gentleman Jack investigates

You have probably seen the news that, from 1 April 2017, there will be revisions to the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), still referred to by many as ‘road tax’, payment of which was formerly indicated by the tax disc.

How does this affect us motorhome owners? Well, relevant organisations have given conflicting opinions – understandable as even the definitions used by the DVLA are inconsistent.

As an example, the DVLA refers to our vehicles as motor homes (sic) in the current advice, but there is no such body type according to the guidance notes for the log sheet (Form V5C) where in Section 4 part D‚5 it will be described as a motor caravan (sic).

Documentation from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the National Caravan Council (NCC), the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the National Franchise Dealers Association (NFDA) has been studied in detail. Rather predictably, they don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet.

Therefore what follows is a précis of mainstream expert opinion. If you are conducting your own research, be aware that some organisations confuse ‘cars’ with ‘vehicles’, presumably not realising that although all cars are vehicles, not all vehicles are cars.

The changes will only affect new vehicles registered on or after 1 April 2017.


  • For the purposes of VED all new motorcaravans, motorhomes and camper vans should fall in category M1SP (Special Purpose).
  • Unlike cars, most motorhomes are not made by a single company (eg Nissan), but built in stages by at least two companies. These companies are referred to as manufacturers (eg base vehicle – Fiat) or converters who may add chassis extensions (eg Al-Ko), coachbuild the residential section, or alter the body for a high-top motorcaravan or pop-top camper van, as well as fitting out the habitation part (eg Auto-Sleepers and Hymer).
  • It is an EU requirement that after the completion of each stage, the company involved should produce a document called the Certificate of Conformity (CoC).
  • The company involved in the final stage CoC has the option of filling in the exhaust emission CO–2 figures. Presently, the overwhelming majority of final stage converters are unable to do this and there is no legislative requirement for them to do so.
  • When licensing newly registered vehicles, the DVLA should only be considering the CoC issued by the final stage converter. However, all other stage CoCs relating to the vehicle must also be provided to the DVLA.
  • Most motorhomes will not have a CO–2 emissions figure on the final stage CoC, so will continue to be licensed according to the weight – either as Private Light Goods (PLG) or Private Heavy Goods (PHG) for those with a maximum authorised mass over 3500kg.
  • If the final stage converter has recorded a CO–2 emissions figure on the final stage CoC, then the motorcaravan will have to be licensed in a vehicle taxation class based on its CO–2 emissions.


It has been suggested on some forums that ’vans costing more than £40,000 will be subject to an additional increase in VED.

The majority of my sources quote this increase as only applying to cars, not to vehicles in category M1SP, so (for now anyway) it appears that these ‘high value’ charges shouldn’t apply to motorhomes.

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