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London ULEZ: Shortage of cheap, compliant cars and no increase to scrappage scheme

It seems that London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone’s journey towards expansion, scheduled for August this year, is being beset by new challenges on a daily basis. Sadiq Khan will have woken up up this morning to find that Auto Trader have undertaken a study which reveals a significant shortage of affordable second-hand ULEZ-compliant vehicles in the London area.

It is thought there are 200,000 non-compliant vehicles in the expansion area, which will become subject to a £12.50 per day charge once the expansion goes live. The Auto Trader research has found that there are currently only 5,150 compliant second-hand cars for sale in London under £5,000, with the average price for a compliant petrol car being £15,000 and a diesel £19,991.

The London ULEZ expansion has a £110m scrappage scheme under which drivers can get up to £2,000 for scrapping a non-compliant car or up to £1,000 for a motorcycle. For wheelchair accessible vehicles there is a payment of £5,000 to scrap or retrofit to the ULEZ standard.

There are also grant payments of up to £9,00o for micro businesses (with up to 10 employees), sole traders and registered charities to scrap vans or minibuses.

The new scrappage scheme only launched on 30th January with around 6,000 applications already having been received, leading to suggestions that the scheme is going to be over-subscribed.

The London Assembly passed a motion requiring the Mayor to consider expanding the scrappage scheme by £100m, to which he has responded in his newly published draft budget: ‘The Mayor has not accepted the Assembly’s proposed changes to the Draft Consolidated Budget.

‘This is the largest fund provided to date for scrappage and builds on the Mayor’s previous £61m scrappage scheme, which helped scrap more than 15,200 older, more polluting vehicles.

‘It is too early to assess the actual uptake of this scheme, as it launched less than a month ago, on 30 January 2023. This will be kept under review’

Research published last year highlighted the effectiveness of earlier scrappage schemes.

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