A scrappage scheme aimed at encouraging small businesses in London to update their ageing and polluting vehicles is being extended to people on low incomes.
The capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, today revealed details of the bigger ‘scrap for cash’ scheme, which sees the funding allocated to it increased to almost £50m.
Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Khan said: “In advance of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) being introduced in London on April 8, a diesel scrappage package will help Londoners move away from polluting vehicles to greener alternatives.
“Twenty years ago, people like me – and experts – were saying, ‘listen, petrol is bad because the carbon emissions are 15 per cent higher than diesel’. So not unreasonably, businesses, families and charities moved away from petrol to diesel.
“What we don’t want to do is inadvertently drive them back to petrol. We want to move them onto walking, cycling and public transport, or when they need a vehicle, a greener alternative.”
The scheme’s funding now stands at £48m, including the £23m announced for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees in December.
Further details of both parts of the programme are expected soon, with more information on the commercial vehicle element possibly available as early as next week, according to Sadiq Khan’s press office.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone will see drivers using petrol-powered vehicles built before the implementation of Euro 4 emissions standards – and drivers of diesels built before the introduction of the more recent Euro 6 standards – charged £12.50 per day.
This would be in addition to the existing Congestion Charge, meaning a daily cost of £24 for motorists driving such cars in central London.
Khan said: “Our country’s filthy air is a national disgrace. With seven weeks to go until the introduction of the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, I’m announcing plans to help motorists on low incomes, as well as micro-businesses, to scrap their older, more polluting vehicles.
“However, Ministers must now show they can match my commitment. If we’re going to tackle the health crisis and social injustice caused by air pollution it is vital and only fair that a national vehicle scrappage scheme is funded and supported by the government.”