TfL ULEZ: Sadiq Khan urged by FSB to consider grace period of one year for businesses

The FSB welcomed Sadiq Khan’s extension of the ULEZ scrappage scheme, but said “thousands of businesses” will still be affected.
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The London mayor Sadiq Khan should consider a year’s grace period for companies due to be impacted by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion, a representative for small businesses has said.

Mr Khan recently announced an extension to the ULEZ scrappage scheme, which will enable all Londoners on child benefit and businesses with fewer than 50 employees to apply for support transitioning to less polluting vehicles.

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The expansion of the scheme will also introduce new grace periods, including a six-month period post-launch for sole traders, microbusinesses, small businesses, and registered charities who have ordered compliant vehicles, but will not be receiving them until after the August 29 date the larger ULEZ is due to be implemented.

The extension to the scrappage scheme has been penned in for the end of July, though Mr Khan confirmed to LondonWorld work is being done to try and bring that date forward.

Announcing the update, Mr Khan said: “We already have the biggest-ever scrappage scheme in place to support Londoners on low incomes, London based micro-businesses and charities and disabled Londoners. But 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.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images.The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images.

Michael Lloyd, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) London infrastructure policy lead, told LondonWorld that the shift by the mayor is “welcomed and shows, in part, that FSB members’ concerns have been heard”

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But he said there remain “thousands of businesses affected both inside and outside of the ULEZ expansion zone, and with its imminent launch in less than three months’ time, FSB calls for a full period of grace of a year to still be considered”.

“Whilst the mayor has confirmed that changes to the scheme will include the introduction of two new short grace periods on proof of a vehicle retrofit booking or proof of purchase of a brand new vehicle by August 29 when the new expanded ULEZ becomes operational, it is concerning to note that the new scrappage scheme will not be open until the end of July, just one month before,” he said.

“Many small businesses will not be in a position to consider making arrangements for retrofitting their business vehicles or placing orders for brand new vehicles until a scrappage scheme application is confirmed as successful.”

He said one FSB member told the organisation they had correctly scrapped three good vans under the original ULEZ criteria, but were left with claims not paid out by Transport for London (TfL) because of delays to the delivery of the vans.

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He added the member said they do not feel they can yet trust the scheme without more detail and assurances.

“London’s small business community needs the new scrappage scheme to fully reflect their needs and demands in order to make the transition to compliant vehicles for themselves as business owners, for their staff and for customers alike.”

Mr Khan’s clean-air initiative has previously raised concerns from other business groups, including the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), which requested he reconsider the scheme.

Frank Elkins, chief operating officer of Travis Perkins, a BMF member, said: “Although we fully appreciate the need to drive the impact of emissions down across the whole country, we are asking for more time for residents, tradespersons and workers to be able to adapt.”

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Announcing the scrappage scheme extension, the mayor said expanding the ULEZ to incorporate all of greater London “was an incredibly difficult decision for me”.

However, he said “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”.

“The ULEZ has been proven to work, already reducing toxic air pollution by nearly half in central London,” he said. “Expanding it London-wide will help ensure five million more Londoners can breathe cleaner air and our bigger scrappage scheme will mean we can help thousands of families and small businesses make the transition to greener, cleaner vehicles.”