Fund planned for low-income residents, micro-businesses and black cabs to scrap polluting vehicles ahead of ULEZ

Car scrappage scheme planned for low-income residents, micro- businesses and black cabs. Photo:Ken M

Car scrappage scheme planned for low-income residents, micro- businesses and black cabs. Photo:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The Mayor of London has announced plans for a “scrap for cash” fund to help low-income residents and businesses buy greener vehicles.

Black cab drivers will not have to pay the ULEZ charge. Photo: PA

Black cab drivers will not have to pay the ULEZ charge. Photo: PA - Credit: PA WIRE

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is set to come to parts of Redbridge by 2021 and those living or visiting South Woodford and Wanstead will be expected to pay £12.50 a day if their car does not meet exhaust emission standards with buses, coaches and lorries, paying £100.

Anyone who does not comply with the zone will be fined £160 and £1,000 respectively.

The charge will only be applied up to the A406 and drivers using the North Circular will not have to pay .

Ahead of the ULEZ zone commencing in central London on April 8, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled plans for a £25million car scrappage scheme on top of a £23m micro-businesses van scheme for people driving in the ULEZ zone regularly. An additional £24m will be invested to help more black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles.

“Our country’s filthy air is a national disgrace that shortens lives, damages our lungs, and severely impacts our NHS,” said Mr Khan.

“In London, we have worked tirelessly to clean up the bus and taxi fleet, encourage clean air innovation and establish the largest air quality monitoring network of any major world city.

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“Now, with seven weeks to go until the introduction of the 24-hour seven-day-a-week ULEZ 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.”

As part of the £24m investment for black cab drivers, grants will be restructured to provide more payments at higher levels – with 1,000 more drivers set to benefit from the maximum £10,000 payment from trading in their older, dirtier vehicles earlier.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “I’m pleased the Mayor has recognised the need to support the taxi trade in its efforts to reduce emissions and accelerate the growth of the zero emission capable taxi fleet.

“Providing an additional £24m funding for the newly enhanced delicensing scheme is the right thing to do and I welcome the Mayor’s intervention.

“This will provide a leg-up to those who want to adopt this exciting new technology.

“Anything we can do to improve air quality in London will benefit everyone, including taxi drivers who will suffer the ill effects of air pollution as much as anyone else.”

There are now 150 rapid electric charging points across London giving cabbies a wide range of locations to power up quickly.

By 2020 there will be at least 300 points to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said taxi drivers are part of London’s lifeblood.

“More than 1,000 are already making a major contribution to cleaning up the air for future generations by using electric black cabs,” he said.

“This package of measures will incentivise more drivers to buy the new clean taxis and speed up the rate the vehicles that emit the most harmful pollutants are being taken off the road.

“Making transport across London more sustainable is vital if the capital is to meet legal limits for clear air.

“There is also a London-wide effort to clean up the bus fleet, including the phasing out of diesel-only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from this year. We are proud that the city has one of Europe’s largest zero-emission fleets but our ultimate aim is for all buses to be converted by 2037.”

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