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How Much Can You Get From The New ULEZ Scrappage Scheme? Is It Coming To Your Area Too? | Clean Air

Updated: Jul 7, 2023


The ULEZ Zone is about to extend; what does it mean for Londoners, and why might those living outside London need to take note, as it might affect them soon!

The ULEZ Zone is about to extend; what does it mean for Londoners, and why might those living outside London need to take note, as it might affect them soon!

Like it or loathe it, it looks like the new expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023 will be going ahead, despite strong opposition from London residents, members of Parliament and even members of the Labour Party, who the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is a member of, and so anyone travelling into London is likely to have to pay a charge to enter the city unless they have a vehicle that meets the ULEZ emissions standards.


The fine for non-payment of the ULEZ daily charge is £180, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.


You can check your vehicle on the TFL website to see if it meets the required standards. I own a van and checking oil the site, I can see I would have to pay £27.50 a day to enter the city of London, which is no small amount of money!


In an effort to help Londoners have a vehicle that is compliant, the Mayor of London has launched a new £110m scrappage scheme providing financial assistance to help eligible Londoners scrap their highest polluting vehicles.


This new scrappage scheme will support Londoners on certain low-income or disability benefits and eligible micro-businesses (up to 10 employees), sole traders and charities with a registered address in London. Only eligible applicants with vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ emissions standard will qualify for the new scrappage scheme. 🚗 Here's an example of the best new electric vehicles available in the UK that could be used in ULEZ areas.


Cars, motorcycles and wheelchair-accessible vehicles

Eligible applicants can get up to £2,000 for scrapping a car or up to £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle. For wheelchair-accessible vehicles, there is a payment of £5,000 to scrap or retrofit to the ULEZ standard.

To qualify for the wheelchair-accessible grant payment of £5,000, the vehicle you apply with must have been converted by mobility experts to allow a disabled person to access the vehicle as the driver or passenger.

Options are also available, which include a lower payment plus one or two adult-rate Annual Bus & Tram Passes that are worth more than the payment alone.

You will need to live within one of the 32 London boroughs or the City of London and receive certain benefits to be eligible for the ULEZ car and motorcycle scrappage scheme. You can only apply for a grant payment to scrap a vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards. The vehicle must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to you or someone you live with. If you are claiming disability benefits, it can also be registered to your nominated driver. Find out more about the eligibility criteria, grant payment types and what you need to apply here:

  • ULEZ car and motorcycle scrappage scheme

Vans and minibuses


Grant payment £5,000 - £9,500

The ULEZ van and minibuses scrappage scheme is open to micro businesses (with up to 10 employees), sole traders and registered charities. Your organisation must operate within the 32 boroughs of London or the City of London.

You can only apply for a grant payment to scrap or retrofit a vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standard.

Find out more about the eligibility criteria, grant payment types and what you need to apply here:

  • ULEZ van and minibus scrappage scheme


Obviously, it's great that car/van owners can receive cash to put towards a new, compliant vehicle or trade in the car for public transport vouchers, but frankly, it's not enough. Residents of the city have voiced their concerns and worries that they aren't going to be able to find a new car with lower emissions at a price they can afford, and supply is very limited, even if they could.


Compliant, second-hand cars, are selling instantly, with residents buying whatever they can find to allow them to be able to continue to drive in the ULEZ zones. Some people have to travel as far away as Scotland to find affordable vehicles, as there is nothing available in London for the surrounding areas, and prices have jumped up to the demand.


London does, of course, have a fantastic public transport network, which may take the strain away for some; however, many residents do still have to drive for work commitments or to take children to school, medical appointments, shopping and many other reasons people use a car for, and public transport would be suitable, so they are in the unfortunate situation where they can't afford to drive, but need to and no way to get around it, causing many people sleepless nights and worry.


Imagine I use my van to deliver in and around London on a daily basis and am offered £5,000 to scrap my vehicle to purchase another van; that £5,000 is a drop in the ocean of what it costs to buy a compliant vehicle. I did a search and found this article on the Auto Express website, which gives information on the best electric vans to buy or lease, and for a similar-sized van to the one I currently own, I would be looking at between £45,000 and £60,000!


There is a government 'Plug In Grant' which would take £5,000 off the price automatically, which appears to be able to be used at the same time as the scrappage £5,000 grant, meaning I'll get £10,000 towards a new van, which would fall short by at least £35,000, likely more, on the cost of a van! As a small trader, perhaps a painter or decorator, or courier, that wouldn't be financially viable; they may well have to stump up that daily ULEZ charge, which based on just a 5 day work day, would be £137.50 a week, or £7,150 a year per van!


You might have the option to lease an electric van, I found pricing from £469 + Vat per month for the same size van I have, but I would need to pay a deposit, plus I would have to be credit checked and sign a credit agreement. In this scheme, I would never own the van; it would be the same as hiring the van. I could look at a scheme where I paid a monthly fee and then a balloon payment at the end and then own the van; however, the balloon payment would be significant.


The other issue is charging the vehicles. The increase in the number of electric vehicles in London has already stretched existing charging point availability, with reports that if the capital city wants to be able to charge all the new electric vehicles that may enter the existing and new zones, a minimum of a further 40,000 new charging facilities are required to be installed in the next couple of years, with even more needed later as the use of electric vehicles increases, but realistically that figure is likely to be 60,000 by 2030!


You don't have to go electric, of course; there are Minimum emission standards for Petrol: Euro 4 (NOx) & Diesel: Euro 6 (NOx and PM), so you could look at these options as well, again I've looked at the van options, and it's around £35,000 for a second hand, similarly sized vehicle, so again far from cheap!


Now if you don't live in London, you may well be less bothered by the ULEZ and its ramifications. I don't live in London, but I'm not far away, less than 30 miles, and from August, I will be within 20 minutes of the ULEZ zone, so like many people, it's gotten a little more real for me, and I will have to plan my journeys more carefully, but it's not just London being affected by ULEZ.


I went to Portsmouth in early New Year and was shocked to see that the city centre also had a ULEZ zone; actually, it's called the Clean Air Zone, (and very poorly signposted), and so I will now need to pay to enter Portsmouth if I don't use my 'back route' to Southsea, which avoids the city centre!


Portsmouth is not alone; here are the areas with clean air zones:


Cities with clean air zones

Bath has a Class C clean air zone.

Birmingham has a Class D clean air zone.

Bradford has a Class C clean air zone.

Bristol has a Class D clean air zone.

Portsmouth has a Class B clean air zone.

Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) has a Class C clean air zone.

Future clean air zones

Greater Manchester (under review).

Sheffield will start charging on 27 February 2023

Types of clean air zones


There are 4 types of clean air zones, Class A to D.

ClassVehicle Type A - Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles Type B - Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles Type C - Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses Type D - Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars; the local authority has the option to include motorcycles

Minimum emission standards

To avoid being charged in a clean air zone, your vehicle must meet the following minimum standard:


Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles - Euro VI

Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, cars - Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)

Motorcycles - Euro 3



So it's looking likely that many people outside the London ULEWZ zones will be paying to drive in cities sooner than you may think, so this London problem may soon affect far more people, so it's time to look at what you may do should you face this issue.


You can find out more about the ULEZ London zone HERE

You can find out more about the Clean Air Zones HERE



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