Mayor of London announces expansion to ULEZ scrappage scheme

Londoners who need to replace their polluting vehicles ahead of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone to Greater London will be provided with financial support after Mayor Sadiq Khan announced an extended scrappage scheme.

This means 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.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding on 29thAugust 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. 

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.”

Henry Gregg, Director of External Affairs, Asthma + Lung UK said: “We welcome the Mayor’s announcement to provide additional targeted support for families, charities and small businesses to help their transition to cleaner, greener modes of transport. The ULEZ is about reducing the number of polluting vehicles on the road and helping all Londoners breathe cleaner air, including the estimated 580,000 people living with asthma or COPD in Greater London. We’ve been calling for the UK government to set out a national programme to support those who need it most for a fair transition to cleaner travel, and it’s great to see London leading by example in the fight for clean air.”

The London-wide ULEZ is vital to tackle the triple threats of air pollution, the climate emergency and traffic congestion, and help five million more people breathe cleaner air. Around four thousand Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of toxic pollution and exposure to pollution can lead to stunted lungs in children and a higher risk of dementia in older people. With a disproportionate number of premature deaths attributed to pollution in the outer boroughs, and more than half of the capital’s 500,000 asthma suffers living outside of central and inner London, the Mayor says it is essential the ULEZ is extended beyond its current boundaries.

To support the Mayor’s ambition to help clear London’s air and support Londoners through the ULEZ expansion, TfL has secured a range of deals that can help people save money and use greener, cleaner forms of transport. Money can be saved on hire and subscription services for bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes and e-scooters, discounts on car clubs and many other deals.

Abena Oppong-Asare, MP for Erith and Thamesmead said: “Despite nine in ten cars already being ULEZ-compliant, I’ve met with constituents in Erith and Thamesmead who are struggling to make the switch to greener transport. Today’s announcement from the Mayor will go a long way to helping small businesses and families in my constituency.

“Imperial College London estimates that up to around 162 people in Bexley and 129 in Greenwich die prematurely every year as a direct result of air pollution – this makes my constituency one of the worst-affected in London. I’m pleased to support Sadiq as he continues to work to clean up the air and save lives.”

Councillor Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, said: “The Mayor of London is leading the way in the fight against air pollution, tackling toxic air across London so that everyone’s health can be improved. This latest expansion of the scrappage scheme plays an important part in efforts to clean our air and I welcome that Enfield families and businesses can access even more support to switch to greener vehicles.”

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “It is a positive step forward that a significant number of small businesses will now be included in the ULEZ vehicle scrappage scheme. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry support the call for action to improve air quality and save lives. We are looking forward to meeting the Deputy Mayor for Transport Seb Dance to discuss how to ensure SMEs can benefit and the support reaches those who need it.”  

Industry reaction:

Michelle Gardner, Logistics UK’s deputy policy director, said: “Today’s announcement of the expansion of the ULEZ scrappage scheme to include all small businesses across London will be welcome news for logistics businesses working to serve the needs of the capital’s economy. Logistics UK and its members support the Mayor’s commitment to improving the quality of the air we breathe, but have been concerned about the cost of switching to compliant vehicles at a time of high inflation. Logistics businesses deliver everything London’s workers and residents need every day, and today’s news will provide reassurance that they can seek additional support to replace non-compliant vehicles.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.