The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a £110-million (US$133-million) scrappage scheme to support Londoners on lower incomes, disabled Londoners, charities, sole traders and business with 10 or fewer employees to replace or retrofit their old, polluting vehicles in order to be ULEZ compliant.
In November 2022, Mayor Kahn announced the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) London-wide. The expansion will come into effect on 29 August 2023 and will operate across all London boroughs up to the existing Low Emission Zone boundary for large and heavy vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Retrofits must be accredited and certified by the EST CVRAS (Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme), supported by Zemo, to meet the requirements of the ULEZ and avoid penalty charges.
To accompany the scrappage scheme, the Mayor and TfL (Transport for London) are also announcing a number of ULEZ 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.
Around 94% of vehicles seen driving in inner and central London, and 85% of vehicles seen driving in outer London meet ULEZ standards, meaning the vast majority of drivers will not need to pay. The new scrappage scheme and grace periods will help drivers of the remaining non-compliant vehicles prepare.
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. Disabled people 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, the Mayor is providing further support for disabled people, through new and extended grace periods. 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 that 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 this grace period than currently hold a blue badge.