Only 52 people have secured grants in the five months since a scheme was launched to help people upgrade their vehicles as part of an effort to reduce pollution.
The grants - which can be up to £16,000 - are meant to help people subject to charges as a result of Newcastle's Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which was introduced in January.
Newcastle City Council said there had been delays to the scheme and less than 2% of nearly 3,000 applications had resulted in the money being given out.
Of those who have applied for the grant, more than 500 have been told whether or not they are eligible.
Those still waiting to hear back do not pay the charges associated with the CAZ as the council has given temporary exemptions which the application process is ongoing.
Funding for the grants has been provided by the Government and varies depending on vehicle type.
Taxis, including Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles – up to £3,500
Wheelchair accessible taxis, including Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicles – up to £4,000
Light goods vehicles – up to £4,500
Heavy goods vehicles – up to £16,000
Buses and coaches – up to £16,000
Introduced in January, the CAZ charges older buses, taxis, coaches and lorries from £12.50 - £50 each time they drive through the city if the vehicles do not meet certain emissions standards.
Tolls for non-compliant vans are expected to start in July, while private cars are exempt.
A spokesperson for the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone said: “Since November 2022, we have received 2,859 applications.
“We have issued letters of eligibility to 555 applicants and, of those, 52 have completed their applications with a financial provider and received funding. A further 80 applicants have contacted a financial provider and are progressing their application.
“The remaining 2,304 applications are currently undergoing eligibility checks or queries by our grants team prior to them being referred to a financial provider or rejected if the application does not meet eligibility criteria."
They continued: "There were some delays in responding to applications initially as we made a number of changes to the grant scheme in direct response to representation from stakeholders.
“These changes included amending the scheme to allow vehicles to be bought and sold privately, instead of only being permitted through a garage or dealership.
“However, applications are being processed and anyone who has applied will be temporarily exempt from CAZ charges until they have completed the application process.”
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