Just 372 vans submitted to ULEZ scrappage scheme replaced with electric vehicles

-Credit: (Image: Getty)
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Just 372 vans submitted to the ULEZ scrappage scheme have been replaced with electric vehicles. This represents two per cent of successful submissions.

Transport for London (TfL) data reveals that out of 16,965 successful applications of non-compliant vans by the end of May 2024, just 372 were replaced with electric vehicles.

The mayor's office has clarified that the scrappage scheme does not mandate vehicles to be replaced solely with electric alternatives, and that London drivers are free to decide how to utilise the funds.

The scrappage scheme, supported by £210 million of City Hall funding, was initiated by Mayor Sadiq Khan prior to his city-wide ULEZ expansion last year. The scheme aims to assist individual individuals, charities, and small businesses to replace their non-compliant vehicles with less polluting alternatives.

READ MORE: London bus services 'seen no improvement since ULEZ' in borough

For charities, sole traders, and small businesses, vehicles which don't comply with ULEZ emission rules can either be scrapped, retrofitted or, if preferred by the owner and if deemed suitable, donated to Ukraine to aid humanitarian efforts.

Retrofitting a van entitles the owner to a grant payment of £6,000, while scrapping it or donating it to Ukraine is rewarded with £7,000.

The money can be spent as the owner sees fit, although it is believed that most who have opted for the scrappage or donation option will want to put it towards the cost of a new and compliant van.

However, if the owner can provide evidence that they have not only scrapped their van but also replaced it with an electric one rather than simply opting for a more modern petrol or diesel version which complies with ULEZ emission rules they can apply for a larger sum of £9,500. This may be far less than the cost of a used electric car.

The data published by TfL shows that a relatively tiny number of van owners are going to this effort however, with the vast majority 96 per cent choosing only to scrap or donate and taking the £7,000 payment.

Oliver Lord, UK head of the Europe-wide Clean Cities campaign, said, "The mayor's van scrappage scheme is a leading endeavour but something isn't right if only two per cent of businesses in London have ditched diesel [and petrol] and switched to electric instead."

"Londoners rightly expect businesses to step up and play their part in cleaning the air and protecting the environment, but more support is needed to make cleaner electric vans a viable option."

A spokeswoman for the mayor said: "Since the introduction of the scrappage scheme in January 2023 more than 52,000 grants have been approved for Londoners, businesses and charities to switch to cleaner vehicles, with more than £178 million committed. There is still support available."

"London is leading the way in electric vehicle uptake with more than 20,000 electric charge points more than one third of the UK's total. The mayor has committed to working closely with partners to deliver 40,000 charging points by 2030."

As of the end of May, just over £31 million remained to be allocated from the scrappage scheme.

According to a recent analysis by Transport and Environment the parent organisation of the Clean Cities campaign the number of vans on UK roads has surged by over a million since 2014.

The study also revealed that carbon emissions from vans in the UK have soared by 63 per cent since 1990, while emissions from private cars and taxis have dropped by 19 per cent during the same period.

The research indicated that the majority of new van sales are diesel, making up 90 per cent of all new van sales in 2023. Conversely, the number of diesel cars registered on UK roads has declined by 13 per cent between the end of 2018 and the end of 2023, but diesel vans have seen an increase of about 13 per cent during the same timeframe.

Transport and Environment highlighted that these figures are mirrored in the UK's nitrous oxide emission levels, with emissions from HGVs and cars plummeting by 91 per cent and 88 per cent respectively since 1990, but vans have only seen a reduction of 38 per cent.