Sadiq Khan extends £2,000 ULEZ grant to all Londoners with non-compliant vehicles

Sadiq Khan says expanding ULEZ was a 'difficult' decision but insists it is the right thing to do, but one charity told ITV London's Carolyn Sim how they are expecting to suffer

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a major expansion of financial support for people affected by the upcoming expansion of the capital's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Every Londoner with a polluting car facing charges under ULEZ will now be able to receive a grant of up to £2,000 to support an upgrade under the changes. It comes after he was asked by Sir Keir Starmer to reflect on how the extension of the traffic zone to all London boroughs was being carried out. The Labour leader blamed concerns around the scheme for his party’s narrow by-election defeat in Boris Johnson’s old Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat last month. Mr Khan said while he will not “step back, delay or water down” the policy to tackle air pollution, he is widening the scrappage scheme after listening to residents’ unease about ULEZ amid the cost of living crisis. While previously only child benefit recipients, low-income and disabled people were eligible for scrappage grants, from August 21 all Londoners with non-ULEZ compliant cars or motorcycles can apply.

Blue zone shows current ULEZ zone, green shows current LEZ zone and expanded ULEZ zone Credit: TfL

The scheme offers £1,000 for a non-compliant motorcycle, £2,000 for a car. Other options include a lower payment plus one or two adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Passes that are worth more than the payment alone.

The Mayor also announced that small businesses and sole traders can get £21,000 to junk up to three vans, with £27,000 available for charities to replace three minibuses. More support kicking in on Friday includes higher payments for switching to an electric vehicle, for charities with old vans, and for retrofitting an existing vehicle. Grants for replacing wheelchair accessible vehicles will double to £10,000.

It comes ahead of the ULEZ expansion to beyond the capital’s north and south circular roads on August 29, which Mr Khan says he remains committed to despite facing vocal criticism. Drivers of vehicles which do not meet minimum emissions standards are charged a £12.50 daily fee for entering the zone.

The Conservative government previously insisted on ULEZ expansion as a condition for TfL funding. Credit: PA

Mr Khan said: “I have always said that expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London was a difficult decision, and not one I took lightly – but it’s a decision I remain committed to seeing through. “I’m 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 help us to fight the climate crisis. “I have continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners over recent months, and today I can announce a huge expansion to the scrappage scheme that means that all Londoners with non ULEZ-compliant cars will now be able to get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting vehicles.

“As we continue to build a greener and healthier London for everyone, I’m determined that no Londoner and no London business is left behind.

"We need to take people with us on the path to a sustainable future. We are ensuring that help is now available for everyone – and I urge Londoners to come and get it.” The mayor, who last week won a High Court challenge against five councils who wanted the ULEZ expansion to be ruled unlawful, will use £50 million of City Hall’s reserves to fund the changes. This will bring the total investment to £160 million – the most generous scrappage scheme ever seen in the UK, his office said.

You can listen to a special episode of our podcast 'What You Need To Know' where we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how ULEZ - and how it will affect you.

Transport for London (TfL) says nine out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day comply with the ULEZ standards.

It has estimated that drivers of ore than 200,000 non-compliant vehicles are likely to be affected b the expansion. However, figures obtained by the RAC show more than 690,000 licensed cars in the whole of London are likely to be non-compliant. This does not take into account other types of vehicles or those which enter London from neighbouring counties, which will continue to be excluded from the scrappage scheme.

Figures from AutoTrader show 1,561 compliant petrol cars within a 50 mile radius of central London for sale for under £2,000, - the amount most applicants could expect to get - and 10,891 for under £5,000.

The online marketplace said that in July in the London region, there were 46,499 compliant cars available to buy from retailers, compared to 369,000 nationally in the past seven days.

Nationally, buyers could get a non-compliant Ford Transit panel van (2014) for £8,780, and a compliant 2016 model for £13,367. AutoTrader added that there were 35,573 compliant vans for sale nationally in July.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy, said: “The expansion of the scrappage scheme means that the remaining minority of Londoners who need to drive and don’t have a car that meets the standards now have access to financial support to make the green transition.”

Nathan Coe, chief executive of Auto Trader, said: “Further support, in the shape of a scrappage scheme for all Londoners, shows that prioritising clean air doesn’t have to be a decision of pocket over planet.” Susan Hall, the Conservative Party’s candidate for the London mayor election in May next year, said the changes are “too little, too late”. “Thousands of families, small businesses and charities face financial ruin because of Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion, which will do next to nothing to improve air quality. “If I am elected Mayor, I will reverse this disastrous policy and replace it with a £50 million fund to reduce air pollution without taxing people.”