Mayor announces scrappage scheme for most polluting vans

18 December 2018

news release
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Tuesday 18th December 

Mayor announces scrappage scheme for most polluting vans to help clean up London’s lethal air
• New £23 million scheme to help smaller business owners scrap older, more polluting vans and switch to cleaner vehicles
• Mayor urges Environment Secretary Michael Gove to match City Hall funding and help low-income Londoners scrap older cars
• Vehicles account for nearly 50 per cent of London’s toxic NOx air emissions
The Mayor of London has today announced a bold new £23 million scrappage scheme to help tackle London’s air quality crisis and support micro-businesses to prepare for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The scheme will initially help London’s micro-businesses – defined as those with fewer than 10 employees – to switch to the cleanest vehicles, including electric. It is planned to be in place ahead of the introduction of London’s new central London ULEZ, which from 8 April 2019 will bring in charges for vehicles which do not meet stricter emission standards that apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Diesel vans which do not meet the latest Euro 6 standard will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London.
The move is the latest step in Sadiq’s drive to tackle air pollution in the capital. Across the country, toxic air leads to 40,000 premature deaths annually, and increases the risk of asthma, cancer, dementia – imposing a financial burden of £20 billion on the economy every year.
Under the City Hall scheme, funding would be available to scrap vans that do not comply with the new ULEZ standards, but which are driven into the ULEZ zone regularly, helping thousands of micro-business owners update their vehicles. The Mayor has asked officials and TfL to work out how the money could be spent most effectively, and further details of the scheme will be available next year.
As well as announcing his own City Hall fund, Sadiq is urging the Government to match his ambition and leadership.
The Mayor has asked ministers to match-fund London’s proposed scrappage scheme with £23 million of Government money, funded either from the £245 million National Clean Air Fund or from underspend on Highways England’s £75 million air quality fund. Londoners pay hundreds of millions of pounds in Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED) every year which support these funds but, shamefully, a negligible amount of this money is then spent in London.
If the Government stepped up and matched the Mayor’s funding, it would enable City Hall to put in place further scrappage support for other Londoners, including those on low incomes, and charity vehicles. It would also give ministers the evidence they need to judge scrappage proposals from other cities, and demonstrate the transformational benefits of a truly national scrappage fund.
It would also help improve air quality in the capital, where it is estimated half the roads in the UK that exceed legal limits are located. This will rise to 97 per cent by 2021 as other cities implement and benefit from Government funding for their Clean Air Zones.
The Mayor has delivered a series of bold measures to tackle London’s filthy air, from cleaning up the bus fleet to introducing a Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest polluting vehicles. The ULEZ, starting in central London next April, will be the toughest emission standard adopted by any city in the world and will improve air quality for millions of Londoners.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Air pollution is a national health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leading to thousands of premature deaths. To truly get a grip on our lethal air we need to take bold action to rid our city of the most polluting vehicles.
“It’s not good enough to do nothing, and I’m determined to take real action which is why I’ve already delivered the Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest polluting vehicles, cleaned up our bus fleet, and brought forward the Ultra Low Emission Zone. My scrappage scheme is my next step in tackling pollution.”
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “The AA welcomes the Mayor’s diesel scrappage scheme. Some small businesses that cannot afford to switch their vans to cleaner Euro 6s have been taking the hit from higher road use charges and simply passing on the extra costs to their customers. This scrappage scheme gives them a route to cleaner vehicles, an escape from air quality charges, the chance to stay competitive in their trades and businesses, reduce customer costs and above all the means to cut street-level pollution.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Vans criss-cross the capital making journeys that are crucial for London’s economy. They are likely to cover more miles per day than a car simply driving to and from a single place of work. Helping smaller businesses, with limited cash flow, trade up to newer cleaner vehicles faster than they could do otherwise makes sense.”
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Air pollution affects all our health with children, the elderly and those with lung and heart conditions most at risk. Urgent action can’t be delayed. It’s fantastic to see that the Mayor of London is helping small businesses move to cleaner vehicles ahead of the ULEZ introduction, which is going further to protect Londoners from toxic air than ever before. London is leading the way; now we need to see similar schemes introduced for residents in other polluted cities."

Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We are delighted that the Mayor is announcing a fund to support micro businesses looking to scrap their older diesel vehicles.  FSB has long argued that tackling air quality is a critical issue for London and we have been vocal with the Mayor to approach this brave new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) world with ‘carrot-based incentives’ to aid struggling small firms who are faced with changing an expensive vehicle stock – many of whom are facing damagingly high costs of doing business in the capital.”
Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney, British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA), said: “It is great that the Mayor is providing extra financial support for upgrading vans, which are an essential tool for so many SME’s operating in London. More and more firms are choosing to lease because it provides an affordable, fixed cost way of accessing the latest low-emission vehicles. The BVRLA and its members look forward to working with the GLA on its plans to remove older, more polluting vans from London’s roads. Vehicle rental and car clubs will also play a vital role in helping businesses and individuals make the shift to cleaner, ULEZ-compliant motoring from April 2019.”  


Notes to editors

1. ONS statistics define micro-businesses as a business with fewer than 10 employees
2. A report from the Royal College of Physicians found the health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year (

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