Payments for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) van scrappage scheme will double to £7,000, after a poor take up of the initial offer.
According to the London Evening Standard, just £2.3m of the £28m fund was spent in 2019, with small business owners unconvinced with the amount available to upgrade their vehicles.
The scheme was opened in February 2018, and businesses with fewer than 10 employees could apply for either a payment of £3,500 to scrap a non-compliant van or minibus to purchase a newer Euro 6 vehicle, or £6,000 to buy a new electric vehicle.
Businesses including Europcar were critical of how the scheme was rolled out and trade bodies including the Freight Transport Association (FTA) had called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to do more to reduce the ‘financial burden’ on affected businesses.
To encourage more businesses to take advantage of the scheme, the figure has been increased to £7,000 to buy a Euro 6 vehicle with £9,500 available for the purchase of electric vans.
It’s also been expanded to include small businesses with up to 50 employees.
The ULEZ, which was introduced in April 2019 has seen 13,500 fewer older, more polluting vehicles each day enter the zone. It is also estimated that harmful NOx emissions from transport have been reduced by more than 30% in central London so far.
TfL has also announced that to help clean up the heavy vehicle fleet, the van scrappage scheme will open to small businesses operating heavy vehicles later this year. TfL is finalising the details of the scheme, but it is expected that it will be in the form of a grant of around £15,000 for each polluting heavy vehicle, up to a maximum of three vehicles.
Christina Calderato, TfL’s Head of Transport Strategy and Planning, said: ‘We know that vans and heavy vehicles play a major part in the capital’s economy and are intrinsic to both logistics and leisure. Unfortunately the freight and coach sectors currently also make a significant contribution to London’s dirty air.
‘That’s why we are providing these grants to help businesses green up and ensure Londoners can breathe more easily.’
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