The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today say expanding the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult decision but that he remains committed to pushing ahead on 29 August in order to save lives, protect children’s lungs and tackle the climate emergency.
The Mayor will say he is not prepared to step back, delay or water down the ULEZ policy. With toxic air damaging the health of millions of Londoners and the need to tackle the climate crisis, Sadiq believes that the cost of inaction would simply be far too high a price to pay.
Air pollution in London is an urgent health crisis which can’t be solved later down the line. It’s responsible for around 4,000 premature deaths in the capital each year and is leading children to grow up with stunted lungs and adults to develop a whole host of illnesses – from asthma to heart disease, cancer and dementia.
The ULEZ is a highly targeted scheme that aims to take the most polluting vehicles off London’s roads. 90 percent of cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant.
However, after listening to the concerns of Londoners over recent months and the impact of the growing cost-of-living crisis, the Mayor will announce today that to make the transition to a greener city easier, the scrappage scheme will be massively widened to every Londoner affected by ULEZ along with a host of other significant changes. This means from Monday, 21 August:
- Every Londoner with a non ULEZ-compliant car will be eligible for a £2,000 grant
- Small businesses and sole traders will be able to receive up to £21,000 in grants to scrap up to three vans
- Charities will be able to receive up to £27,000 in grants to scrap up to three minibuses
Also, from today, Friday, 4 August:
- Small businesses and charities with a non-compliant van will receive increased payments of £7,000 (up from £5,000)
- Grants for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles will increase from £5,000 to £10,000
- Grants for scrapping Minibuses will increase from £7,000 to £9,000
- Grants to Replace a non-compliant van with electric van increase from £7,500 to £9,500
- Grants to replace a non-compliant minibus with an electric minibus increase from £9,500 to £11,500
- Retrofit grants increase from £5k to £6k, typically enough to cover the whole cost of retrofitting
This will bring the total amount the Mayor has invested in the latest scrappage scheme to £160m, and, in addition to the £60m previously invested in the scrappage scheme, would be the most generous scrappage scheme ever seen in the UK. The scrappage scheme will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with low-income and disabled Londoners having already had seven months to apply. While the government has provided hundreds of millions in scrappage funding to other cities in the UK implementing clean air zones, they have not provided any to London. The Mayor continues to call on the government to provide money for people in the areas outside London to scrap their vehicles in the way they have done across the country.
Car and motorcycle scrappage funds were initially prioritised for low-income and disabled Londoners to ensure those that needed it most had early access to support. Since then, the Mayor has listened to Londoners and announced in early June the fund would be expanded it to families receiving child benefit. As we draw closer to the 29 August implementation date, and with over £60m left in the scrappage fund, the Mayor has announced the scheme will be expanded to help every Londoner with a non-compliant car or motorcycle. This will include many families who were not previously eligible as they did not receive Universal Credit or Child Benefit but who need support to change to a greener, less polluting car. Most vehicle scrappage companies give customers money for their vehicle on top of the TfL grant – meaning people can often get hundreds of pounds more to scrap their car.
A search of online vehicle retailers on 3rd August 2023 revealed that there are nearly 5,000 ULEZ-compliant cars for sale for under £2,000 within 200 miles of central London on one major vehicle trading site alone – with more being added all the time. Opening up the £2,000 scrappage grants to every Londoner with a non-compliant car or motorcycle will help remove even more of the most polluting vehicles from London’s roads, ensuring we can clean up the air even quicker.
In response to further feedback from disabled Londoners, the payment level for wheelchair-accessible vehicles is being doubled from £5,000 to £10,000 to reflect the higher cost of vehicles with expensive adaptations. This will support more disabled Londoners to become compliant now with the support of scrappage funds. Those not doing so will still be able to take advantage of the grace period available for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
The Mayor has also listened to small businesses who said they needed more financial help to purchase ULEZ-compliant, less-polluting vans. As part of today’s announcement, the grant per van will be raised from £5,000 to £7,000, and the number of vans or minibuses small businesses and sole traders can scrap will increase to three – meaning small businesses could get £21,000 for a greener fleet. Minibus payments will also be increased, as will the payments for switching to an electric vehicle, meaning some businesses could secure even higher levels of support. Those businesses who want to retrofit an existing vehicle will be eligible for a grant of £6,000, up from £5,000. This is typically enough to cover the whole cost of retrofitting.
The Mayor has decided supporting more Londoners to change to less polluting vehicles is vital to making London a greener, healthier and safer city for all, which is why he plans to use £50m of City Hall’s reserves to fund these changes. This will bring the total scrappage funding up to a maximum of £160m – an unprecedented amount – that will see the scrappage scheme remain open for a significant time to come.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“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.
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.
As we continue to build a greener and healthier London for everyone, I’m determined that no Londoner and no London business is left behind. We need to take people with us on the path to a sustainable future. We are ensuring that help is now available for everyone – and I urge Londoners to come and get it.”
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In response, Nathan Coe, CEO of Auto Trader, said:
“This is great news for Londoners who have found it difficult to transition to less polluting vehicles. We previously called for an extension of the scrappage scheme’s terms and this announcement from Transport for London is a really encouraging move to show the positive impact that incentives and support can have on people who are keen to make sustainable decisions but who just can’t afford to.
Further support, in the shape of a scrappage scheme for all Londoners, shows that prioritising clean air doesn’t have to be a decision of pocket over planet. Some drivers may find that selling is still a better option rather than scrapping if their car is desirable in the broader national market – it’s important drivers do their research before deciding what’s best for them.
We also welcome the scheme’s extension designed to support small businesses to drive more sustainable vehicles. Vans commonly make more frequent and longer journeys and so trying to incentivise businesses to make the switch to electric will no doubt be a great step in the right direction to improve Greater London’s air quality.”