Concerns raised over ‘unreasonable’ timeline for ULEZ scrappage scheme

A sign in London saying ‘ULEZ 2023 expansion’

The ULEZ expands to cover all 32 London boroughs on 29 August

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is set to expand to cover all 32 London boroughs in just under three weeks, meaning a lot more drivers will be faced with the daily ULEZ charge.   

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has lifted the restrictions on who can apply for the scrappage scheme, meaning any driver who lives within the expanded ULEZ can apply for the grant. However, the timeline poses some issues. 

What is the scrappage scheme? 

The scrappage scheme gives grants to drivers to help them scrap or retrofit a vehicle they own which doesn’t comply with current emissions standards. It can also be used to purchase a vehicle that does comply with the emissions standards. 

Currently, only people who qualify for Child Benefit, disability benefits or who earn an income below a certain threshold are eligible for the scrappage scheme. Grants are also available for small businesses, tradespeople and charities. 

What’s the new timeline? 

Khan has announced that the scrappage scheme will be extended to everyone who lives in the expanded ULEZ, not just those who were previously eligible. 

This change will not be implemented until 21 August, just eight days before the ULEZ expands to cover all London boroughs. Drivers that won’t be eligible for the scrappage scheme until 21 August cannot apply until then, meaning they are unlikely to receive the grant money until after the ULEZ expands. 

It could mean that drivers who want to buy a car compliant with emissions standards to avoid paying the ULEZ charge, won’t receive the grant in time to do so. 

According to RAC head of policy Simon Williams ‘applications can take up to ten days to process’ and when you consider how long it takes to find a suitable car for your needs, the cost of paying the daily ULEZ charge adds up very quickly.  

Simon Williams also said: “While Mr Khan’s widening of the scrappage scheme to include those not on benefits is helpful, it’s also extremely frustrating for those who desperately want to buy a compliant car as quickly as possible”. 

It’s currently unclear whether Khan plans to change the date where everyone within the ULEZ becomes eligible for the scrappage scheme, but as it stands, drivers are likely to have to continue paying the ULEZ charge for a while after they become eligible for the scrappage scheme.  

If you want to know more, check out our blog on ULEZ charges. 

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