• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

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Sadiq Khan launches biggest vehicle-scrappage scheme to aid businesses, charities, low-earning & disabled Londoners

The London mayor also announced a host of ULEZ support offers for subscriptions, rentals and purchases of cars, bikes, e-bikes and vans to accompany the scheme.

London mayor Sadiq Khan (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

London mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday (30) launched the biggest scrappage scheme worth £110 million to help charities, sole traders and business with 10 or fewer employees or those city dwellers on lower incomes or disabled, to replace or retrofit their old, polluting vehicles.

To accompany the scrappage scheme, Khan and Transport for London (TfL) are also announcing a host of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) support offers from businesses, including additional exclusive offers for successful applicants of the scrappage scheme. This will enable Londoners to benefit from discounts on subscriptions, rentals and purchases of bicycles, e-bikes, cargo bikes, cars and vans from companies including Brompton, Enterprise and Santander Cycles, a press release from the mayor’s press office said.

It follows the mayor’s decision to expand London’s ULEZ across all city boroughs in August this year, which means five million more Londoners will be able to breathe cleaner air.

Around 94 percent of vehicles are already seen driving in inner and central London, while 85 per cent of vehicles seen driving in outer London meet ULEZ standards, meaning a vast majority of drivers will not need to pay.

The new scrappage scheme and grace periods will also help drivers of the remaining non-compliant vehicles to prepare.

Khan launched the scrappage scheme at The Felix Project’s warehouse in Enfield.

The Felix Project collects surplus food from suppliers and redistributes it to charities, tackling both food poverty and food waste. The mayor met recipients of the past scrappage schemes, organisations supporting the scheme through ULEZ support offers and retrofit solutions, and organisations representing groups that are stand to gain from the scheme.

Londoners receiving certain means-tested benefits and non-means-tested disability benefits can apply for cash grants of up to £2,000 to scrap their non-compliant cars or motorcycles. As a new feature, successful applicants can choose to receive a higher value package comprising up to two free annual bus and tram passes and a lower cash grant.

Disabled people, who want to scrap or retrofit a non-compliant wheelchair accessible vehicle, will be able to apply for grants of £5,000 to reflect the higher cost of these vehicles. They can also apply for a nominated driver who lives at a different address if they do not drive themselves.

Charities, sole traders and business with 10 or fewer employees registered in London can apply to scrap a van (£5,000 grant) or a minibus (£7,000 grant), retrofit certain vans or minibuses (£5,000 grant) or scrap and replace a van or minibus with a fully electric vehicle (£7,500 or £9,500 grant, respectively).

In addition to the scrappage scheme, Khan has decided to provide further support to disabled people, through new and extended grace periods. Applications for the new grace periods were also declared open on Monday and the mayor has encouraged every eligible person to apply.

The two new grace periods provide exemptions until October 2027 for recipients of certain disability benefits (or their nominated driver) and for all wheelchair accessible vehicles and some vehicles with other adaptations.

The grace periods are available to all eligible people or a nominated driver regardless of whether they live in London, and they will apply to the current ULEZ zone as well.

The new disabled benefits grace period means anyone who receives benefits that automatically make them eligible for a blue badge will also qualify for the new grace period. More Londoners currently claim benefits that would make them eligible for such a grace period than currently hold a blue badge.

Khan said, “I took the difficult decision to expand the ULEZ because it will save lives, help tackle the climate crisis and reduce congestion. We have made huge progress in central and inner London but there is much more to do in outer London.

“Clean air is a fundamental human right – and everyone deserves to breathe clean air including those in outer London. Around 4,000 Londoners are dying prematurely each year due to toxic air, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in London’s outer boroughs. It is causing people to develop life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma, and leading to children growing up with stunted lungs.

“We need to get the most highly polluting vehicles off our roads, which are damaging the health of all Londoners, including drivers. The rising cost of living has been a key consideration for me, which is why we are launching this new and improved scrappage scheme – the biggest ever – to help low-income and disabled Londoners, businesses, sole traders and charities switch to cleaner vehicles, or support them to make the most of other transport options.

“The health of Londoners must come first and I know that expanding the ULEZ London-wide, alongside this £110m scrappage scheme, will help us to continue building a greener, fairer and healthier London for everyone.”

Alex Williams, TfL’s chief customer and strategy officer, said, “Any premature death and disease linked to poor air quality is unacceptable. Pollution is a silent and indiscriminate killer that is disproportionately blighting the outer London boroughs, which is why we are expanding the ULEZ across the whole of the capital.

“Londoners are already choosing public transport, walking and cycling for the majority of trips and the mayor’s new scrappage scheme — the largest of its kind — will support more people to get rid of their highly polluting vehicles and make the switch to greener travel.

“£110 million has been made available to support those Londoners that need it most to get rid of the dirtiest vehicles. These grants will play a significant role in ensuring smaller businesses, those on low incomes, disabled people and charities are fully prepared ahead of the expanded zone coming in later this year.

“In addition to the scrappage grants, we are offering options for annual bus and tram passes as well as teaming up with other organisations to provide incentives that make it easier to travel more sustainably. This includes exciting offers from our partners, such as bike hire subscriptions, e-scooter discounts and car club deals. We would encourage drivers to take advantage of these fantastic ways to get around for less.”

Rachel Ledwith, head of community engagement at The Felix Project said, “We welcome the help the mayor is providing to smaller charities with the scrappage scheme and hope it is taken up by as many charities as possible. Many of the organisations who rely on food donations from The Felix Project expressed concerns about the ULEZ extension as it meant higher transportation costs. These are very small organisations who survive on small budgets. I hope the scheme will benefit them and allow them to make positive steps to help London’s environment whilst reducing their transport costs.”

Nadra Ahmed CBA DL, executive chair of the National Care Association, said, “The toxicity in London’s air is a cause for concern for us all causing not just respiratory problems but heart issues and even dementia for those we care for and those who deliver support to vulnerable people in the city.

“The mayor of London’s decision to expand the Ultra Low Emissions Zone will help to reduce this however care workers should be aware that as London’s ULEZ to stop toxic air is extended, they should check if the vehicle they are using is impacted. We understand only 15 per cent of the most polluting vehicles are expected to be below the ULEZ standard but if your vehicle is one of these you are likely to be eligible for the mayor of London’s scrappage scheme. £110m is available to replace a polluting vehicle with a cleaner one, including vans. While we know we must act to stop the impact of toxic air, the National Care Association will continue to work with the Mayor to ensure care workers are supported through this change.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said. “The mayor is taking bold action to cut the toxic fumes we breath every day – fumes that sit behind the premature death of thousands of residents in Barking and Dagenham and across London.

“The mayor’s scrappage scheme is a welcome step, but we need the government to step up and support those without deep pockets to transition to cleaner vehicles, like they have in other cities. I’m repeating my calls on them to match the mayor’s ambition by supporting outer London boroughs, like mine, to make the change at the same time as getting through the cost of living crisis.”

Dr Kush Kanodia, a disability rights campaigner, said, “We are delighted and welcome these changes from the mayor of London and Transport for London. I started the campaign 2 years ago which called for further reasonable adjustments for disabled Londoners from ULEZ.

“Disabled people have already been the most disproportionately impacted from austerity, the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis. Climate action must go hand in hand with climate justice and social justice, to prevent further increases in poverty and inequality in our society.

I now call on the mayor of London, national government and city leaders to replicate the further reasonable adjustments for disabled people from ULEZ. Creating a standardised and compassionate policy for all the new clean air zones, from Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth & Newcastle, to all future cities in Sheffield & Manchester.”

Jim Blakemore, founding partner, Bikeworks said, “We’re a not-for profit social enterprise, using bikes to deliver services as well as delivering cycle training to adults and schoolchildren. We had a diesel van that we used for moving bikes around – it was intermittently working and we wanted to upgrade to a less polluting and more efficient van. I’d heard of the ULEZ scrappage scheme and applied. It was incredibly simple: as soon as we’d officially scrapped the old van, we could claim the money and we bought a brand-new Euro VI van – and it works wonderfully.”

According to Rebecca Dickinson, charity co-ordinator, Friend in Need, “A charity that supports older and vulnerable people in the community. We have an activity centre open two days a week and we use our buses to pick them up and take home. For a lot of them, it’s the only opportunity they have to get out of house – they join us for activities, games and a home-cooked meal. We have two minibuses and the scrappage scheme allowed us to replace the older bus with a newer one, which is a lot more economical and unlike the old one, can be driven by anyone with a regular driving license. It has been a godsend and has allowed us to expand our services, for instance offering escorted shopping. It’s definitely something that NGOs with affected vehicles should take a look at.”

Laura Vicinanza, Inclusion London said: “While all of us want to live in a city with clean air, we made clear to the mayor that if ULEZ had to be expanded to the whole of London, robust mitigation measures had to be put in place to prevent disabled Londoners from experiencing financial hardship. We are pleased that the mayor has taken on board our feedback about the negative financial impact the ULEZ expansion would have on disabled Londoners and took steps to mitigate it.

“We welcome the new grace periods that have been introduced for disabled Londoners and the enhanced funding available through the scrappage scheme to those disabled Londoners relying on Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and/or vehicles with specific adaptations. We do believe that the ultimate aim should be to ensure every disabled Londoner, who is not able to travel by public transport due to lack of accessibility, has access to an ULEZ compliant car and the cost of replacing adapted vehicles is fully covered by the scrappage scheme. We look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure we achieve this goal.”

James Colquhoun from Mortlake Plumbing and Heating said, “We’re a domestic plumbing and heating business. In 2021 we scrapped three vans that weren’t ULEZ compliant. As a business, we have to manage our overheads carefully but the grant makes a ULEZ-compliant van more affordable. The process of scrapping the vehicle is very easy – there’s a basic set of procedures to hand in the documentation and then you get the grant. It was slick. If people have non-compliant vehicles that they’re using in the zone every day, this is too good an opportunity to miss.”

Dan Parsons, co-founder and Head of B2B, Fully Charged, said, “Since 2014, we at Fully Charged have had the mission to better the lives of Londoners through cleaner transport solutions for individuals, families and businesses – and we welcome the expansion of the ULEZ. Working with our industry-leading e-bike and electric cargo bike suppliers, we are excited to support the TfL scrappage scheme as a way to further encourage and incentivise the transition to greener transport and better air quality to benefit all of London.”

Mark Cooper, head of Business Development and Sales UK at HJS Emission Technology, said, “We are delighted to be working with Transport for London and local business groups, offering fully accredited Euro 6 retrofit solutions for a wide range of Euro 5 light vans and commercial vehicles.

“The retrofit conversion is fully compliant with the stringent emissions requirements of the expanded London ULEZ, and will offer an alternative to thousands of light commercial vehicle owners who would otherwise be facing daily ULEZ charges or looking at purchasing a newer vehicle. Our product delivers an 80 per cent reduction in NOx emissions, making a major contribution towards improving the capital’s air quality.”

Sak Gill, general manager for London and the South East at Enterprise, said, “Enterprise is pleased to promote sustainable travel as part of the GLA’s scrappage scheme. The scheme provides real incentives for people to remove older, polluting vehicles from the roads and move towards shared transport options.

“Our vehicles across outer London are ULEZ complaint, so residents can easily access flexible travel alternatives for journeys that are better suited by a car or van.

“As plans to improve air quality in London continue, we hope Enterprise can be part of the solution to encourage more people to travel sustainably.”

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