ULEZ scrappage scheme: Sadiq Khan announces ‘major’ expansion from end of July

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The scheme’s extension means it will cover tens of thousands more people, including all Londoners receiving child benefit.

Sadiq Khan has announced the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scrappage scheme is to be expanded to support tens of thousands more Londoners and businesses from the end of July.

Currently, those eligible for the scheme are able to receive up to £2,000 for scrapping a car, up to £1,000 for a motorcycle, £5,000 to scrap or retrofit a wheelchair accessible vehicle, and between £5,000 and £9,500 for vans and minibuses.

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Concerns have been raised, including by several Labour MPs and councillors, around how many people have been able to access the fund, with applicants needing to meet certain criteria in order to qualify.

Now, having “listened to families and small businesses”, the mayor has announced a “major” extension to the scheme, meaning more of the capital’s families and businesses will be able to apply for support from the end of next month.

Under the forthcoming expansion, all Londoners receiving child benefit, which City Hall says totals 874,710 people, will be eligible, as will all small businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees, not just those with up to 10 staff.

Charities operating in London will be able to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses instead of just one, while care workers needing support will be targeted to ensure they benefit from the money available.

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A new grace period, up to a maximum of six months post-launch, is also being introduced 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 ULEZ is due to be expanded.

Those who have booked an approved retrofit for a non-compliant light van or minibus before that date are also being given more time, up to a maximum of three months post-launch.

According to City Hall, anyone single earning up to £30,000, couples earning up to £40,000, and anyone with children and renting can be eligible for the scheme.

However, its end of July start-date means those due to benefit will only have a month or so to apply before the ULEZ is expanded.

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The mayor’s office said this is due to work being required behind the scenes to implement the changes. Mr Khan later told LondonWorld his team are trying to bring that date forward, to the start of July.

City Hall also confirmed that £25,372,800 has been committed to-date, with 6,892 applications having been approved, meaning nearly £85m of the £110m allocated remains. The announcement made no mention of more money being added to the pot.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.

Commenting on the scheme’s extension, Mr Khan said: “The majority of vehicles in London are already ULEZ compliant and will not have to pay anything. But I completely understand the concerns of people who may not have a compliant vehicle and are worried about how they’ll make the transition.

“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.

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“Anyone receiving child benefit and all small businesses in London will now be able to apply for thousands of pounds of support from the end of July. The current scheme can already help couples in London earning up to £40,000 per year, and the expanded scheme will be open to all families claiming child benefit, which supports those earning under £50,000 the most.

“Expanding the ULEZ was an incredibly difficult decision for me. But 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. 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.”

The ULEZ will be expanded on August 29 to include all of greater London. Credit: TfL/Google. The ULEZ will be expanded on August 29 to include all of greater London. Credit: TfL/Google.
The ULEZ will be expanded on August 29 to include all of greater London. Credit: TfL/Google.

Henry Gregg, director of external affairs at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “We welcome the mayor’s announcement to provide additional targeted support for families, charities and small businesses to help their transition to cleaner, greener modes of transport.

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“The ULEZ is about reducing the number of polluting vehicles on the road and helping all Londoners breathe cleaner air, including the estimated 580,000 people living with asthma or COPD in greater London.

“We’ve been calling for the UK government to set out a national programme to support those who need it most for a fair transition to cleaner travel, and it’s great to see London leading by example in the fight for clean air.”

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “It is a positive step forward that a significant number of small businesses will now be included in the ULEZ vehicle scrappage scheme.

“The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry support the call for action to improve air quality and save lives. We are looking forward to meeting the deputy mayor for transport Seb Dance to discuss how to ensure SMEs can benefit and the support reaches those who need it.”

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Conservative Assembly Member (AM) Peter Fortune meanwhile reiterated his call for Mr Khan to “scrap the ULEZ expansion”, describing it as an “unnecessary money-grabbing scheme”.

While adding he welcomes the mayor’s decision to “listen to his political opponents”, Mr Fortune said: “Be in no doubt, however, that he is offering the bare minimum and this minor change will not cover the crippling expense of buying a new car.

“The best thing Sadiq Khan can do now is scrap it and start tackling air pollution where it is, instead of taxing people where it isn’t.”

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