London’s ULEZ scrappage scheme running out of cash

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London’s ULEZ scrappage scheme running out of cash
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A £61m scrappage fund to help London motorists avoid paying the ultra-low emission zone charge has less than £2m left, Sadiq Khan has revealed.

This means that fewer than 1,000 more drivers will be able to obtain a £2,000 grant to scrap a vehicle that fails to comply with the Ulez exhaust emission rules.

The zone expands from central London to the inner boundaries of the North and South Circular roads in 10 days, on October 25. Vehicles that breach the rules will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter or drive within the enlarged zone.

The Mayor on Thursday night said that only £1,917,348 of uncommitted funds remained in the car and motorcycle scrappage scheme, as of October 11.

Londoners on income support or disability benefits can apply to the scheme, which Mr Khan said had already enabled more than 12,000 non-compliant vehicles to be taken off the road - 6,700 cars, 5,200 vans, 100 HGVs and 20 coaches.

He signalled at Mayors Question Time on Thursday that he would try to continue to help low-income Londoners.

The Ulez expansion is expected to generate about £1.9m a day for Transport for London – plus income from the £160 penalty tickets that will be issued to drivers who fail to pay.

Susan Hall, leader of the GLA Conservatives, who obtained the scrappage fund figures, said: “Unless the Mayor urgently invests in scrappage schemes, struggling Londoners who can’t buy a new vehicle without help will be hit by a daily charge they can’t afford.

“There’s no excuse for the Mayor to let London’s scrappage schemes run dry. The Ulez charge will raise millions of pounds a year and we’ve identified £50 million the Mayor could use right now to help Londoners switch vehicles and avoid the charge.”

The Standard revealed on Thursday that thousands of motorists who applied to the scrappage fund had had their application delayed or rejected.

By September 20, TfL had received 19,594 applications but had accepted 8,132 and paid out only on 6,854. Only about half of applications are likely to be accepted.

Mr Khan said the expansion of the Ulez zone would have huge health benefits for Londoners.

He said the central London Ulez, which launched in April 2019, had almost halved roadside nitrogen dioxide levels.

Widening the scheme - to an area 18 times the size - would “directly benefit more than 200,000 Londoners with asthma living within the boundary of the expanded zone”, he said.

It would also result in nine out of 10 roads inside the zone having NO2 levels under the Government target of 40 microgrammes per meter cubed.

However, Green London Assembly member Zack Polanski said the Ulez would not take air quality under 10 micrograms per meter cubed, the new guidelines from the World Health Organisation.

Mr Polanski said: “Reaching these new lower limits requires serious and concerted action, which means we must reduce traffic in London – clean air doesn’t just mean changing the vehicles we use; it means changing the way we get around our city.”

A 2019 study by Imperial College found that toxic air contributed to the premature death of 4,000 Londoners.

Mr Khan denied the Ulez expansion and the difficulty for businesses to switch to compliant vehicles was contributing to supply chain problems in the UK economy.

“I have received no representations from businesses around any concerns of supply of essential goods is because of Ulez expansion,” he said.

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