It can be removed no prob as you say but if you don't want to go to the expense and are up for getting your hands dirty then if possible you can remove the DPF and get a steam cleaner into either end to clean the carbon out, I've done this on around 4 cars now, 2 being 5 series'. once you've cleaned out as much carbon as you can, refit and run the regen and fingers crossed it will be fine! last one I done was a Skoda which was completely blocked, no regen would work. I removed the DPF, steam cleaned it out (wasn't actually very accesible with the steam cleaner but managed to get it flowing not too bad) refitted it and had a guy come and perform the regen whilst on the rolling road, and it worked perfectly!
But, obviously removing the DPF and having it programmed out of the ECU is the best option, just not the cheapest.
These cars with DPF's don't like being pootled around every day