London Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a scrappage scheme to help small businesses prepare for the capital’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone rules, although no relevant details have actually been provided.
A zone (ULEZ) for central London is coming into effect on 8 April 2019 and will see vehicles that don’t meet certain levels of EU emission controls charged a daily £12.50 fee. It will apply to petrol vehicles built before Euro 4 standards and diesels built before Euro 6.
The existing Congestion Charge zone will remain in place, meaning drivers of older vehicles face a £24 daily fee to travel to the centre of London.
The ULEZ will be expanded as of 25 October 2021 to cover the inner London area bounded by the North Circular and South Circular Roads.
The £23m scrappage scheme will be used to help businesses with fewer than 10 employees replace their polluting vans with newer, more efficient ones. Although the commercial vehicle market is still overwhelmingly diesel, businesses in London are more likely to make the switch to all-electric or hybrid vans, such as the Nissan e-NV200 or Ford’s upcoming Transit PHEV.
Details of the scheme’s launch date or how much funding each business will be able to claim haven’t been revealed yet. However, the mayor says it is planned to be in place ahead of the introduction of the ULEZ.
He has also asked government ministers to match London’s £23m contribution, helping to put in place support for Londoners who aren’t necessarily business owners, such as low-income workers or those who use charity vehicles.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor who will jump on any bandwagon as long as it wasn’t originally Boris Johnson’s idea, said: “Air pollution is a national health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leading to thousands of premature deaths.
“To truly get a grip on our lethal air we need to take bold action to rid our city of the most polluting vehicles.”
Strangely, Khan’s “most polluting vehicles” doesn’t seem to include diesel black cabs, which have been exposed as producing 30 times the air pollution of an equivalent diesel passenger car.