Car scrappage scheme extension as Ulez expansion grows nearer

Sadiq Khan has revealed that he will be expanding his £110 million scrappage scheme, in preparation for the London-wide Ultra low emission zone (Ulez).

By Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

An eelctric vehicle at a charging point
Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

Sadiq Khan has announced that he will be expanding his £110 million scrappage scheme, in preparation for the London-wide Ultra low emission zone (Ulez).

The Mayor has loosened the scheme’s eligibility to cover all small businesses in London and all families in the capital receiving child benefit.

City Hall said the criteria will be made less restrictive from the end of July – meaning tens of thousands more Londoners will be eligible to apply.

Pressure had been growing on Mr Khan in recent days from several MPs and borough leaders in his own party – as the scheme is only currently open to Londoners receiving certain low income or disability benefits, as well as London-based charities and micro-businesses.

Some five Labour MPs and eight council leaders had all written to him requesting the scheme be increased in scope.

The loosened criteria will cover:

Londoners receiving child benefit. There are currently 874,710 London families in receipt of child benefit – though only those with non-compliant vehicles can apply.

Businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees. Currently, only those with up to 10 staff can apply.
London-based charities looking to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses, instead of just one.

It will also provide a new grace period for small businesses and charities who have ordered compliant vehicles, but have been informed delivery will be delayed until after the zone expands – or if they have booked an approved retrofit appointment before that date.

The scheme will be kept under “ongoing review” and the Mayor has also asked Transport for London (TfL) to actively monitor applications from care workers to ensure they are benefitting from the money available.

The Ultra low emission zone (Ulez) is expanding to cover the whole of Greater London on August 29. It requires drivers of non-compliant vehicles who travel within it to pay a £12.50 daily charge.

The scrappage scheme allows Londoners to have their non-compliant vehicles destroyed in exchange for a grant payment, which can be put towards the cost of a new vehicle. In some cases, it is possible to have vehicles retrofitted under the scheme.

Mr Khan said: “The majority of vehicles in London are already Ulez compliant and will not have to pay anything. But I completely understand the concerns of people who may not have a compliant vehicle and are worried about how they’ll make the transition.”

He added: “I’ve listened to families and small businesses in outer London who want more support and I’m pleased to be able to announce today a major expansion to the scheme run by TfL to ensure we can help them…

“Expanding the Ulez was an incredibly difficult decision for me. But with toxic air damaging the health of millions of Londoners and the need to tackle the climate crisis, I believe the cost of inaction would simply be far too high a price to pay.”

Peter Fortune, Conservative London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, said he “welcomed” the Mayor’s decision, but that he is “offering the bare minimum”.

He said: “This minor change will not cover the crippling expense of buying a new car.

“The best thing Sadiq Khan can do now is scrap it [the London-wide Ulez] and start tackling air pollution where it is, instead of taxing people where it isn’t.”

Overall, 6,892 applications have been approved through the £110 million scrappage scheme so far, with £25,372,800 committed to date.

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