The Mayor has announced that tens of thousands more Londoners, including all those receiving child benefit and all small businesses in the capital, will be eligible for financial support to replace polluting vehicles from the end of July. This is part of a major extension of London’s biggest ever scrappage scheme ahead of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expanding on 29August 2023.
Having listened to feedback over recent months and his determination to support as many Londoners as possible to transition to cleaner vehicles, the Mayor has announced the scheme run by TfL will be extended. The changes include:
- Allowing all Londoners receiving child benefit to apply. There are currently 874,710 London families in receipt of child benefit, with 578,315 in outer London.
- Allowing businesses registered in London with fewer than 50 employees to apply. Currently, only those with up to 10 staff can apply.
- Allowing charities operating in London to scrap or retrofit up to three vans or minibuses instead of just one.
- A new grace period for sole traders, microbusinesses, small businesses, and registered charities who have ordered brand-new compliant vehicles, but have been informed that delivery will be delayed past 29 August when the larger zone goes live – or if they have booked an approved retrofit appointment for a non-compliant light van or minibus before that date.
The scrappage scheme will be kept under ongoing review and the Mayor has also asked TfL to actively monitor applications from care workers to ensure they are benefitting from the money available.
The vast majority of vehicles in the capital are already ULEZ-compliant, so most Londoners will not need to pay the ULEZ charge, change their vehicle or retrofit their van or minibus. 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.
For non-compliant vehicles, the Mayor launched London’s biggest-ever scrappage scheme in January 2023 – worth £110m – to support London based smaller businesses, sole traders and charities, Londoners on lower incomes and disabled Londoners to replace their older, more polluting vehicles with greener alternatives.
After listening, the Mayor asked TfL to look at variety of options to extend eligibility for the scrappage scheme which could be rolled out quickly and support as many people as possible. This included looking at using income thresholds and giving targeted support to certain groups. However, the widening of eligibility announced today is considered to be the fairest and most deliverable option that would support those who need support the most.
If a parent earns £50,000 a year or under, they can claim the full entitlement of child benefit, and it is still worth families claiming child benefit if both parents earn less than £60,000 a year. The current scheme is already open to Londoners on other benefits, such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment. This means those eligible can include anyone single earning up to £30,000, couples earning up to £40,000 per year and anyone with children and renting.
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. The ULEZ has been proven to work, already reducing toxic air pollution by nearly half in central London. Expanding it London-wide will help ensure five million more Londoners can breathe cleaner air and our bigger scrappage scheme will mean we can help thousands of families and small businesses make the transition to greener, cleaner vehicles.”
Christina Calderato, TfL’s Director of Strategy and Policy said: “Our 24-hour ULEZ in London was world leading when it was introduced more than 4 years ago, and in just under 3 months it will take another big step forward in our fight against the triple threats of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion. Our scrappage scheme is already playing a significant role in helping many people and businesses prepare for the ULEZ expansion and our expanded eligibility will mean that even more people and businesses can benefit.
“TfL continues to advise people to use its vehicle checker to see if they will be affected. This tool has been viewed ten million times since November 2022, when the plans to expand the ULEZ London-wide were confirmed, and many drivers have discovered that their vehicles are compliant with the ULEZ.
“The vast majority of those travelling in the zone when it expands will not have to pay the charge, but we recommend all drivers use our vehicle checker so they know whether they need to take action ahead of the expansion of the zone. The minority of people with non-compliant vehicles should also check whether they can take advantage of the enhanced £110m scrappage scheme or ULEZ support offers. Once live, the London-wide ULEZ expansion will bring the benefits of the ULEZ to a further 5 million Londoners living in outer London, where over half of the air pollution attributable deaths occur.”