All non-compliant cars can be scrapped from 21 August
August 4, 2023
Sadiq Khan has announced a major widening of the scrappage scheme for the expanding Ultra low emission zone (ULEZ), by opening it up to all Londoners with non-compliant cars.
The Labour mayor said the scheme will become more generous in several different ways – some of which will take effect immediately.
The changes, described by Mr Khan as a “huge expansion”, are being introduced alongside the addition of £50m to the existing £110m fund, drawn from City Hall’s reserves.
The scrappage scheme, which provides drivers with grants to replace their vehicles with ULEZ compliant models, has until now only been open to Londoners in receipt of certain benefits, as well as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and charities registered in the capital.
Mr Khan has come under significant pressure in recent weeks from within his own party to “reflect” on his plan to expand the ULEZ into outer London – but he said he remained committed to the policy, due to be implemented on 29 August.
“I have always said that expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London was a difficult decision, and not one I took lightly – but it’s a decision I remain committed to seeing through,” said the Mayor.
“I’m not prepared to step back, delay or water down vital green policies like ULEZ, which will not only save lives and protect children’s lungs by cleaning up our polluted air, but help us to fight the climate crisis.
“I have continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners over recent months, and today I can announce a huge expansion to the scrappage scheme that means that all Londoners with non ULEZ-compliant cars will now be able to get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting vehicles.”
The alterations to the scheme are being made in two stages, with the first stage coming into force with immediate effect (on Friday, August 4):
Then on Monday, 21 August, every Londoner with a non ULEZ-compliant car or motorcycle will be eligible for a £2,000 grant (or £1,000 for a motorcycle), or a higher value package of up to two bus and tram passes plus a lower grant (no change to the payment level). In addition, small businesses and sole traders will be able to scrap as many as three vans (up from one).
As of 23 July, some 10,562 applications had been made to the scrappage scheme, with some £38.5m allocated to date. With the £50m addition to the scheme now having been made, around £120m is therefore thought to still be available.
The changes come after Mr Khan said he would “carry on listening” to Londoners’ concerns about the ULEZ, following Labour’s failure to win the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election in July.
The Conservatives, who succeeded in holding the west London seat, focused their campaign around opposition to the ULEZ expansion, telling voters that they can “send a clear message to Sadiq Khan” by voting Tory.
The result caused senior figures in Mr Khan’s party to express concern over the expansion plan, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urging the mayor to “reflect” on the policy.
Commenting on the latest changes to the scrappage scheme, Susan Hall – Conservative candidate for mayor in 2024 – said, “This is too little, too late from Sadiq Khan, who is facing mounting pressure from Londoners and his own party.
“Thousands of families, small businesses and charities face financial ruin because of Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion, which will do next to nothing to improve air quality.
“If I am elected mayor, I will reverse this disastrous policy and replace it with a £50m fund to reduce air pollution without taxing people.”
According to City Hall, since its launch in 2019, the ULEZ has helped to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide by 46 per cent in central London and by more than 20 per cent in inner London. Particulate matter levels have also continued to fall across London, City Hall said, with a 41 per cent reduction in central and inner London since 2017.
Transport for London maintains that nine out of ten cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already ULEZ-compliant and will not have to pay the charge.
The ULEZ requires all non-compliant vehicle drivers to pay a daily charge of £12.50.
Noah Vickers - Local Democracy Reporter
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