London mayor announces major expansion to ULEZ scrappage scheme

London mayor announces major expansion to ULEZ scrappage scheme
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced an expansion to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scrappage scheme that provides financial support to replace polluting vehicles.

Transport for London (TfL) has earmarked £110 for the scheme, with grant payments ranging from £2,000 to £5,000 for cars and £5,000 to £9,500 for vans and minibuses.

Khan’s office has stated that this will help ‘tens of thousands more Londoners, including all those receiving child benefit and all small businesses in the capital’.

Those that will be eligible can claim support from the end of July 2023. This is part of a major extension of London’s biggest ever scrappage scheme ahead of the ULEZ expanding on 29th August 2023.

The expansion of the ULEZ in London is part of the Mayor’s aim to support as many Londoners as possible to transition to cleaner vehicles.

The changes include allowing all residents receiving child benefit to apply. There are currently 874,710 London families in receipt of child benefit, with 578,315 in outer London that can now take advantage of the new support package.

Businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees can also apply to receive financial assistance.

The planned ULEZ expansion to all London boroughs will go ahead at the end of August, where drivers will need to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter Greater London. This will now include the city border up to Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Surrey.

It currently only includes the areas of inner London between the North and South Circular Roads.

TfL says the vast majority of vehicles in the capital are already ULEZ-compliant, so most Londoners will not need to pay the ULEZ charge.

In fact, the latest data shows that nine out of 10 cars, and around 8 out of 10 vans seen driving in the zone on an average day are already compliant.

The updated scrappage scheme will be kept under ongoing review by the Mayor’s office and TfL.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq 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. 

“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.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “We’re pleased the Mayor has expanded the level of financial support available to Londoners to help them upgrade to newer vehicles that meet the ULEZ standard and therefore won’t have to pay the daily charges.

“We had previously written to the Mayor expressing our concerns about the limited support of his scrappage scheme for older vehicles given the huge area the expanded ULEZ will cover and the short lead-in time to it coming into force, so we welcome the fact he has acted to help lower income households and small businesses.

“Unfortunately, those living just outside of Greater London who commute into the expanded zone with non-compliant cars will not benefit, so we once again urge the Government to work with the Mayor to ensure some support is offered to key workers who fall into this category.”

What do you make of the announcement? Are low emission zones a good idea or are they hurting families even more during a cost of living crisis? Leave your comments below.

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