London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expanded the car scrappage scheme to comply with its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) after he was blamed for Labor’s defeat in the London by-election. Uxbridge.
Grants of up to £2,000 will now be available to all Londoners who want to scrap any car or motorbike that does not meet zone emissions standards.
While previously only recipients of family allowances, low-income people and people with disabilities were eligible for scrapping bonuses, from Monday 21 August, all people in the capital with non-compliant cars or motorcycles at ULEZ can apply.
Payment for vans will rise from £5,000 to £7,000, with small businesses and sole traders eligible to receive up to £21,000 in grants to scrap up to three vans.
However, the scrappage scheme is not retroactive – meaning those who have already paid for a new vehicle will not be reimbursed for the subsidy.
Conservatives described the development as “too little too late”.
The concession, funded by £50million of Town Hall reserves, comes after the The Tories were able to keep Boris Johnson’s former seat campaign on an anti-ULEZ platform, which is expected to expand outside of London at the end of the month.
The additional £50 million brings the total value of the scrap fund to £160 million.
The ULEZ – which is already in place in central and central London – charges motorists £12.50 a day to drive the most polluting vehicles within the limits it covers.
From August 29, the area will be extended to the capital’s borders with Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.
The mayor has repeatedly pointed out that 90% of cars driving around London’s outskirts on an average day are already ULEZ compliant, but expansion of the scheme has met fierce resistance in some areas due to the rising cost of the life.
Following the result of the Uxbridge by-election – which the Tories won by just 495 votes – a number of senior Labor politicians, including leader Sir Keir Starmer and MP Angela Rayner, took to the airwaves to denounce politics.
In a direct rebuke to the Labor Mayor of London, Sir Keir told Sky News that his party lost Uxbridge by-election due to program expansion as he urged Mr Khan to ‘reflect’.
Mr Khan stuck to the policy, citing the detrimental effects of air pollution on the health of Londoners.
Last week he was bolstered by a High Court decision which found that expansion to the outer boroughs of the capital was legal.
Under the expanded scrapping scheme, charities will be able to receive up to £27,000 in grants to scrap up to three minibuses, while from Friday increased grants come into effect for non-compliant vans and minibuses.
Mr Khan said: “I have always said that extending ULEZ to the whole of London was a difficult decision, and one that I did not take lightly – but it is a decision I I remain determined to see it through.
“I am not prepared to step back, delay or water down vital green policies like ULEZ, which will not only save lives and protect children’s lungs by cleaning up our polluted air, but will help us fight the climate crisis. .
“I have continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners over the past few months, and today I can announce a huge extension to the scrappage scheme which means that all Londoners with non-ULEZ compliant cars will now be able to get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting vehicles.”
The mayor’s intervention was welcomed by disability rights champion Dr Kush Kanodia, who said it was “great news for the disability community and shows that disability campaigns can have a significant impact in changing politics in Greater London”.
Tim Dexter, Head of Clean Air at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “ULEZ aims to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on the road and help every Londoner breathe cleaner air, including the estimated 585,000 people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease living across London.
“Programs like ULEZ have been proven to reduce air pollution – a public health emergency contributing to 4,000 premature deaths in London every year.”
But Susan Hall, who will represent the Tories against Mr Khan in the next mayoral election in 2024, said: ‘It’s too little, too late from Sadiq Khan, who is facing mounting pressure from Londoners and his own party.
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“Thousands of families, small businesses and charities face financial ruin from Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion, which will do next to nothing to improve air quality.
“If elected mayor I will overturn this disastrous policy and replace it with a £50m fund to cut air pollution without taxing people.”
City Hall Conservative Transport spokesman Keith Prince said it was an ‘act of desperation to appease members of his own party’ but would not go ‘far enough to stop the damage its ULEZ expansion will do to Londoners”.
“The best thing he can do is turn around and enact policies that would actually clean the air, like accelerating the move to zero-emission buses,” he said.