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Struggle to Meet Demand – ULEZ Scrappage Scheme Faces Overwhelming Response

Transport for London (TfL) and vehicle breakers are currently grappling with an avalanche of applications, as a substantial number of London residents seek to take advantage of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ grant and dispose of non-compliant vehicles in the wake of the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).


Struggle to Meet Demand - ULEZ Scrappage Scheme Faces Overwhelming Response p
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The recent expansion of ULEZ to encompass all London boroughs on August 29 has triggered a surge in requests for the grant. Petrol cars entering the zone free of charge must meet at least Euro 4 standards for NOx emissions, while diesel cars must adhere to Euro 6 standards for NOx and particulate matter.

Statistics from the RAC indicate that approximately 700,000 non-compliant cars were registered in Greater London when the zone expansion occurred.

Mayor Khan initiated a £110 million scrappage scheme in late January, later extended to £160 million, offering eligible car owners a £2000 grant toward acquiring a ULEZ-compliant vehicle. To date, over £100 million has been claimed. TfL had initially set a target of processing grant applications within a 10-day timeframe, but applicants are now experiencing significant delays with the expanded ULEZ in effect.

One vehicle breaker, Durnford Street Car Dismantlers in Tottenham, disclosed that they had seen an 85% surge in the number of vehicles delivered for scrapping in the past three weeks. A spokesman from the company stated:

“We’re not the only ones facing this challenge, and some breakers are struggling to issue Certificates of Destruction.”

TfL maintains that if a car qualifies for the grant, the application processing should be completed within ten days. After the Certificate of Destruction is received, an additional ten days are required for the grant cheque to be issued. Considering potential delays at breakers, this translates to a waiting period of well over a month for some Londoners to receive their £2000 payment.

A TfL spokesperson issued an apology, stating,

“We regret any delays in the processing of scrappage applications and are making every effort to respond to everyone as swiftly as possible. In preparation for the ULEZ scrappage scheme expansion to all London residents with non-compliant cars, we augmented our resources to handle the increased volume of applications.”

To be eligible for the scrappage grant, applicants must reside in a Greater London borough and have been the registered keeper of their vehicle since at least January 30, 2022. Additionally, the vehicle must be insured, road taxed and possess a valid MOT certificate.



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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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