As part of his action to tackle dirty air across the capital, Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a series of measures that will accelerate the move to cleaner vehicles across London.

He will double payments for his van scrappage scheme to £7000, with £9500 also now available to those switching to electric vans.

The increased funding is intended to enable more van owners to switch to cleaner vehicles, while helping businesses prepare for the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) up to the North and South Circular next year, and the tightening of the London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards this October.

The Mayor has also announced that he is broadening the eligibility for the van scrappage scheme so that more businesses can benefit. Previously firms with fewer than 10 employees, defined as micro businesses, were eligible. Now small businesses, those with 50 or fewer employees, are also included.

Action is expected later this year to support small businesses operating heavy vehicles.

These vehicles, which include heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), coaches and buses that are not part of the TfL network, make up more than a third of the harmful pollution from transport.

To help clean up the heavy vehicle fleet, the van scrappage scheme will open to small businesses operating heavy vehicles later this year. TfL is finalising the details of the scheme, but it is expected that it will be in the form of a grant of around £15,000 for each polluting heavy vehicle, up to a maximum of three vehicles.

The latest moves have been warmly welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) with Head of South of England and Urban Policy, Natalie Chapman, saying that it would help the Mayor to achieve his clean air ambition without placing a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of local businesses.

“And while we are especially pleased to see TfL is developing a funding programme for HGVs — and look forward to seeing the details of this emerge in the coming months — we are calling for the body to recognise that currently there are very few retrofit options available for HGVs,” she added. “As such, whole vehicle replacement is the only viable option for the vast majority of the HGV fleet.”

Last reviewed 13 February 2020