Londoners are braced for the introduction of the Ulez expansion, which finally comes into operation today (Tuesday, August 29), after months of legal battles and a backlash from motorists that has seen the vandalism of cameras set up to monitor the zone.
The expansion of the ultra-low emission zone to all London boroughs and bordering home counties will kick in after originally being introduced in 2019 with the mission of cleaning up London’s air.
Last Monday (August 21), all Londoners who own non-compliant vehicles qualified for support from the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) scrappage programme in preparation for the full London roll-out.
The extension of the programme was announced at the start of August by Mr Khan. It came after the pool of qualified candidates had already been widened in July, when all Londoners receiving child benefits and companies with fewer than 50 employees were included.
Prior to this, only people receiving specific disability and low-income benefits as well as organisations like small enterprises and charities were eligible.
This means that every Londoner with a non-ULEZ-compliant car will be eligible for a £2,000 grant, charities will be eligible for grants of up to £27,000 to trash up to three minibuses, while mall businesses and sole traders will be eligible for subsidies of up to £21,000 to scrap up to three vans.
Ulez’s expansion will see now hundreds of thousands of motorists paying £12.50 daily for using London's roads.
What is the scrappage scheme?
The scrappage scheme provides drivers with grants to replace their vehicles with less polluting models.
The scrappage scheme is only open to Londoners in receipt of certain benefits, as well as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and charities registered in the capital.
London drivers whose vehicles don't meet the ultra-low emission charge standards can apply for grants to either scrap or upgrade their old, polluting automobiles.
The decision means hundreds of thousands of drivers who own older, more polluting vehicles will face a daily fee of £12.50 for using London’s roads.
The TfL online checking tool allows you to determine whether your car or bike is eligible.
You can apply for the car and motorbike scrappage scheme via TfL’s website.
When can Londoners apply for the scrappage scheme?
From August 21, all Londoners could apply for the scheme. Previously, the scheme was only available to those receiving benefits.
The scheme had about £60 million left, but now another £50 million will be added.
Those living outside London can not apply.
How long does it take to hear back about your application?
TfL says that it takes about 20 days to process an application and you will need a Certificate of Destruction confirming that your car has been scrapped before the £2,000 grant will be processed.
While some have complained about this, saying this would leave them having to wait a number of weeks before they can buy their new car, TfL has shared that the scrappage money isn’t necessarily offered so that people can buy a new car. They added that the money could also be used to buy a travel card or join a car club.
How to scrap non-compliant cars and motorcycles
Londoners can apply for cash incentives to discard non-compliant vehicles like motorcycles or cars. However, those in the home counties are ineligible.
Wheelchair users with modified vans can apply for grants of £5,000 to destroy or modify non-compliant wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Charities, sole proprietors, and companies with fewer than 10 employees who are registered in London may apply to scrap a van or a minibus (for a grant of £5,000 or £7,000, respectively), to retrofit some vans or minibuses (for a grant of £5,000), or to scrap and replace a van or minibus with a fully electric vehicle (for grants of £7,500 or £9,500, respectively).
Additionally, applicants have the choice of receiving a combination of cash and yearly bus and tram passes.
Lorries, vans, buses, and minibuses do not need to pay the ULEZ charge, but they might need to pay a LEZ charge.
Can Londoners buy an old car just to apply for the £2,000 scrappage scheme?
No, the only vehicles that can apply for the scheme are cars that have been registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to you or someone who lives at your address since January 30, 2022 or earlier.
Will the scrappage scheme be extended to commuters?
Currently, the scrappage scheme is only available to Londoners.
However, Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to set up a scrappage scheme for the home counties.
A decision about this hasn’t been revealed yet.