In a significant move towards improving accessibility and reducing emissions, London has taken a bold step by increasing Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scrappage grants for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) from £5,000 to £10,000. This initiative aims to ensure that Londoners with mobility challenges have enhanced options for getting around the city while contributing to a cleaner local environment.
In a progressive move towards a cleaner and more inclusive urban environment, the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn has announced a substantial expansion of the ULEZ scrappage scheme package. The latest development aims to encourage the adoption of more environmentally-friendly transportation solutions, particularly focusing on vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 Diesel or Euro 4 Petrol standards. Under the enhanced ULEZ scrappage scheme, all residents and businesses with a non-compliant vehicle can now apply for up to £10,000 in financial incentives to scrap their old, polluting vehicles for modern, greener alternatives.
Car drivers can now get up to £2,000 to scrap their non-compliant car, while the cash payment for a non-compliant WAV has doubled from £5,000 to £10,000.
To fund the improved scrappage scheme, £50m from City Hall’s reserves will be added to the fund, increasing the total cost to £160m.
These changes come in the same month as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) being expanded to cover almost all of Greater London.
From 29 August 2023, drivers of non-compliant vehicles will face a £12.50 daily charge in the expanded zone, but if you are disabled and your vehicle (or your nominated driver's vehicle) does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you may qualify for a 'temporary discount' from the ULEZ charge which means you will be able to enter the zone for free until 25 October 2027.
The expansion of ULEZ has been controversial, with many motorists and small business owners who need to regularly drive into the capital complaining about the daily charge.
London, like many other global cities, has been grappling with the detrimental effects of air pollution and limited accessibility for individuals with disabilities. To address these pressing challenges, the city introduced the ULEZ in 2019, imposing strict emission standards to encourage the use of low or zero-emission vehicles within certain areas. The ULEZ has been successful in reducing overall pollution levels, but there remained a need to focus on accessibility for disabled residents.
WAVs play a crucial role in enhancing mobility and independence for individuals with disabilities. However, the cost of these newer adapted vehicles has been a barrier for many potential users. The increased £10,000 ULEZ scrappage payment to non-compliant WAV owners seeks to alleviate this financial burden while also promoting a shift towards cleaner transportation options.
Other choices for London motorists, small businesses and charities include a £6,000 grant to retrofit a non-compliant WAV to the ULEZ standard, and a separate van and minibus scrappage scheme, with grant payments available of between £6,000 and £11,500 per appropriate vehicle.
Scrappage funds were initially prioritised for low-income and disabled Londoners to ensure those that needed it most had early access to support, but this help will apply to every Londoner from 21 August 2023.
Anyone living in a London borough, or in the City of London, with a vehicle that is not ULEZ-compliant, will be eligible for the enhanced scheme.
The scrappage scheme is being operated on a first-come, first-served basis, with low-income and disabled Londoners having already had over seven months to apply.
To be eligible, the vehicle you want to scrap needs to have been registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) by you - or someone who lives at your address - since 30 January 2022 or earlier. The vehicle must also have insurance, road tax (VED) and a valid MOT.
Eligible vehicle owners can apply for the scrappage scheme on the Transport for London (TFL) website, and they aim to process applications within 10 working days.
Once approved, the qualifying vehicle must be scrapped at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) and the evidence sent to TFL within one month. The payment is then sent via a cheque in the post.
Options are also available which include a lower cash payment plus one or two adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Passes.
Disability Rights Champion Dr Kush Kanodia said: “This expansion of the scrappage scheme is great news for the disabled community and shows that campaigns from disabled people can have a significant impact to change the policy in Greater London. Anyone wanting to benefit should take note that it includes a doubling of the money available to scrap wheelchair accessible vehicles. While many more disabled people are also now exempt from ULEZ until 2027, many will want to know this money is available now, to take advantage of the scheme.
"We are now working to replicate these further reasonable adjustments for disabled people from ULEZ and the scrappage scheme to all future and current clean air zones, from Birmingham to Bristol and beyond.”
London's decision to enhance the ULEZ scrappage scheme for WAVs to £10,000 reflects a commitment to fostering both environmental sustainability and inclusivity. By providing substantial financial incentives and expanding the qualification criteria, the city aims to create a cleaner and more accessible urban environment for all its residents. As this progressive initiative takes hold, other cities around the world may look to London as a model for promoting cleaner air and better accessibility through innovative transportation policies.