UK’s largest-ever scrappage scheme now open to all Londoners with a non-compliant car

As part of the Mayor’s controversial plans to clean up London’s air, the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will cover all London boroughs from 29 August and from today all Londoners can apply for grants to scrap their older, polluting car or motorcycle.

As part of the Mayor’s controversial plans to clean up London’s air, the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will cover all London boroughs from 29 August and from today all Londoners can apply for grants to scrap their older, polluting car or motorcycle.

The Mayor has always said that expanding the ULEZ was a difficult but necessary decision because of the damage air pollution is doing to Londoners’ health. Air pollution in London is an urgent health crisis, 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.

Nine in 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant with ULEZ standards so their drivers will not have to pay the ULEZ daily charge when the scheme expands in a week’s time. Even so, the Mayor has continued to listen to Londoners and has promised to provide an extra £50m to help more Londoners scrap their non-compliant vehicles while increasing the amount that those eligible for the scheme can receive. This will take the funding for London’s biggest scrappage scheme to £160m. This is on top of the more than £60m provided for the central and inner London ULEZ.

In January, the Mayor and TfL opened the capital’s biggest-ever scrappage scheme giving those most in need priority. From 30 January low-income, disabled Londoners, sole traders, micro-businesses and charities have been able to apply for scrappage grants to transition to less-polluting vehicles.

At the end of July the scrappage scheme opened to families receiving child benefit and the Mayor and TfL responded to points raised by London’s businesses, expanding eligibility to all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees (previously only those with up to 10 employees could apply). Over the three weeks when they have been able to apply, 204 small businesses have had their applications approved and £1,450,500 has been committed.

With extra money being added to the fund and those most in need having had priority access to support, the Mayor and TfL have opened up the fund to include every single Londoner with a non-compliant car or motorcycle, to make sure no Londoner and no small business or charity is left behind as the ULEZ expands.

The team overseeing the scrappage scheme are processing applications in a matter of days, so TfL and the Mayor are urging Londoners with a non-compliant car to apply now to get their scrappage grant as quickly as possible. TfL has hugely increased the resourcing of the scrappage scheme to respond to the expected increase in demand.

All London residents with non-compliant vehicles can now apply to get £2,000 for scrapping a car or £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle. Alternatively, applicants can opt for a higher-value package of up to two bus and tram passes plus a lower grant. The payment for wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) has also increased from £5,000 to £10,000 to scrap the vehicle, or £6,000 to retrofit the WAV to achieve ULEZ standards.

Small businesses and charities applying now will also receive increased grant payments of between £6,000 and £11,500. Eligible businesses and sole traders will also be able to apply for up to three vans or minibuses to be scrapped or retrofitted in total, even if they have already received a grant payment for one vehicle as part of this scheme.

London-based charities can already apply to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses, and may reapply even if they have already received a grant payment for one vehicle as part of this scrappage scheme or received a grant through the previous scrappage scheme.

Alongside the scrappage scheme, a range of offers are available to Londoners making the transition to cleaner, greener transport. These mean savings can be made on hire and subscription services for bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes and e-scooters, as well as discounts on car clubs alongside many other deals.

The introduction of the ULEZ in central London in 2019 and the inner London expansion to all areas within – but not including – the North and South Circular roads in 2021, have already proved to be extremely successful in clearing the air. A year after the inner London expansion of the ULEZ, TfL data showed that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations are estimated to be 46 per cent lower than they would have been in central London without the ULEZ and 21 per cent lower in inner London.

Alongside tackling the triple threat of toxic air, congestion and our changing climate, the London-wide expansion is expected to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions (NOx) from cars in outer London by 10 per cent and reduce PM2.5 car exhaust emissions in outer London by nearly 16 per cent.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was not an easy one for me to make, but it is necessary to reduce toxic air pollution, protect the health of Londoners and help tackle the climate emergency.

“I have continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners, and that’s why I’ve introduced the biggest vehicle scrappage scheme ever seen in the UK. Every single Londoner with a non-compliant car and motorbike is now eligible to get support. We are doing this without a penny of support from the Government who have helped other cities around the country with their clean air zones.

“There’s still plenty of money available in the scrappage scheme and, with one week to go until the ULEZ is expanded, I am urging all Londoners with non-compliant vehicles to apply now.

“Currently 9 out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London are already compliant, but these grants will make a real difference to those drivers with non-compliant vehicles. Together we can help build a better, greener city for all Londoners.”

Christina Calderato, TfL’s Director of Transport Strategy and Policy, said: “London has made significant progress over the last six years in improving air quality, but it sadly remains the case that thousands of Londoners are dying prematurely each year as a result of toxic pollution, which is why the Mayor made the difficult but necessary decision to expand the ULEZ.

“Nine in ten cars seen driving on an average day in outer London are already ULEZ compliant. With the recent expansion of the scrappage scheme, all Londoners looking to help clean the city’s air by scrapping a non-compliant car can do so with financial support from the Mayor. Charities and small businesses can also receive more to scrap or retrofit their vans or minibuses, as well being able to apply with up to three vehicles. We encourage everyone to go to our website to check their vehicle to make sure they’re ready for next week.

“ULEZ is a vital step in make the city a cleaner place for all who work and live in London and we are taking ambitious action to improve public transport for all.”

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader, said: “Getting a valuation on a current car on sites like Auto Trader is key, as that will help people work out what their options are for their next car. There are plenty of compliant cars available, both in Greater London and beyond, it just comes down to budget which will determine choice.

“Fundamentally, the bigger a budget, the more choice people have. As drivers consider what they’re looking to spend, finance and leasing options can prove attractive as a means of getting into more expensive vehicles – and that’s when electric vehicles could also become an attractive option as they offer low running costs and there are some great leasing deals available on them at the moment.”

To further help those in outer London boroughs get around more sustainably, the Mayor has also introduced the Superloop – an express bus network connecting outer London boroughs to town centres, nearby towns, high streets and more. The Superloop is part of the Mayor’s commitment to bring an extra million bus kilometres to outer London. By enhancing bus routes in outer London, the Mayor and TfL are providing better transport links and more sustainable ways to get around the capital.