London Mayor Sadiq Khan has ramped up the scrappage scheme for old vehicles that do not meet the requirements of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in an effort to combat growing criticism of the scheme.
Last month, the Tories narrowly held on to the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in a by-election that Labour expected to win. Many commentators chalked the party’s loss up to the unpopularity of the ULEZ scheme in London’s outer boroughs.
Khan said that expanding the zone at the end of this month “was a difficult but necessary decision” and vowed not to back down. Owners of non-compliant vehicles will face a £12.50 charge when driving into the zone.
Air pollution is estimated to be responsible for around 4,000 premature deaths in London each year while causing other long-term conditions such as stunted lungs and asthma.
Car and motorcycle scrappage funds were initially prioritised for low-income and disabled Londoners. But the latest scrappage grants will provide up to £2,000 to all residents of the capital with a non-compliant car or motorcycle. Businesses will also be given an increased scrappage payment of £7,000 for vans, an increase from £5,000.
Small businesses and sole traders will be able to scrap three vans or minibuses in addition to receiving increased retrofit payments of £6,000, up from £5,000.
Additional support will also be available to charities, with increased payments available for minibuses – up from £7,000 to £9,000 – and disabled Londoners will see wheelchair adapted vehicle grants double.
The Mayor plans to use £50m of City Hall’s reserves to fund these changes – taking the total scrappage fund to £160m.
Around 90 per cent of cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already ULEZ-compliant.
“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,” Khan said.
“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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