Mayor of London Announces More Financial Support to Ease ULEZ Expansion

Mayor of London Announces More Financial Support to Ease ULEZ Expansion
A file photograph shows a traffic jam as cars head towards the approach tunnel of Heathrow Airport, west London, Britain November 26, 2015. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls/files)
Joseph Robertson
The mayor of London has announced a major expansion of financial support intended to ease the financial impact of the capital’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ), on ordinary people.
Sadiq Khan said every Londoner with a “polluting car,” facing charges under ULEZ, will now be able to receive a grant of up to £2,000 to support an upgrade.
Mr. Khan said while he will not “step back, delay or water down” his policy to tackle air pollution, he is widening the scrappage scheme, after listening to residents’ concern about ULEZ expansion during a cost-of-living crisis.

Measures Have Not Touched the Sides

However, health minister Maria Caulfield reacted today to Mr. Khan’s announcement, saying that the financial measures have, “not touched the sides.”
She told Sky News: “I don’t think it touched the sides of people’s concerns. I think he’s reacting to why Labour didn’t win the Uxbridge by-election. £2,000 is nothing if you’re having to replace your car.”
This move comes after Mr. Khan was asked by Sir Keir Starmer to reflect on how the extension of ULEZ to all London boroughs was being carried out.
The Labour leader blamed discontent with the scheme for his party’s narrow by-election defeat in Boris Johnson’s old Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat last month.
Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy, said, “The expansion of the scrappage scheme means that the remaining minority of Londoners who need to drive and don’t have a car that meets the standards now have access to financial support to make the green transition.”
Meanwhile, Conservative Party’s candidate for the London mayor election, Susan Hall, has said that ULEZ is a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Mrs. Hall told LBC: “I would stop the ULEZ expansion on day one of a new mayoralty, this is too little, it’s too late. The grants aren’t insufficient as prices for used cars and vans have gone up and the expansion in eligibility doesn’t come into effect until a week before the ULEZ.
“I mean it’s totally unacceptable and given that his own impact assessment says it will make virtually no difference at all, what a waste of taxpayers’ money, £160 million. Instead of taxing everybody in outer London he could have put that money towards where we’ve got pockets of pollution.”
Mrs. Caulfield also said people were concerned about what will happen with the ULEZ should Labour get into government.

Committed to ULEZ

In his announcement, Mr. Khan stated: “I have always said that expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London was a difficult decision, and not one I took lightly–but it’s a decision I remain committed to seeing through.”
Last week, the mayor won a High Court challenge against five Conservative-led councils who claimed the ULEZ expansion should be ruled unlawful.
Reform candidate for the London mayor race, Howard Cox, said: “On first looks, Khan’s latest increase in his scrappage scheme seems very generous. But still £2,000 towards a ULEZ non-compliant vehicles does not touch the sides in terms of the cost of a new EV.
“Widening the scheme to all owners of non-compliant vehicles is welcomed, but I repeat dishonestly taking taxpayer’s money out of Greater London Authority reserves will not cover the cost of a new EV, with the cheapest only available close to £20,000.
“The mayor says he has listened to businesses too or so he says, he has announced that the scrappage payment for vans will increase from £5,000 to £7,000. But again, the cheapest to buy is over £30,000.”
Praising the scheme, Nathan Coe, chief executive of Auto Trader, said, “Further support, in the shape of a scrappage scheme for all Londoners, shows that prioritising clean air doesn’t have to be a decision of pocket over planet.”

Financial Support For Green Switchers

While previously only child benefit recipients, low-income and disabled people were eligible for scrappage grants, from August 21 all Londoners with non-ULEZ compliant cars or motorcycles can apply.
The Labour mayor also announced that small businesses and sole traders can get £21,000 to scrap up to three vans, with £27,000 available for charities to replace three minibuses.
More support, available from today, includes higher payments for switching to an electric vehicle, for charities with old vans, and for retrofitting an existing vehicle. Grants for replacing wheelchair-accessible vehicles will double to £10,000.
Mr. Khan declared, “I have continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners over recent months, and today I can announce a huge expansion to the scrappage scheme that means that all Londoners with non-ULEZ-compliant cars will now be able to get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting vehicles.
“As we continue to build a greener and healthier London for everyone, I’m determined that no Londoner and no London business is left behind. We need to take people with us on the path to a sustainable future. We are ensuring that help is now available for everyone–and I urge Londoners to come and get it.”
Mr. Khan will use £50 million of City Hall’s reserves to fund the changes. This will bring the total investment to £160 million–the most generous scrappage scheme ever seen in the UK, his office said.

Undemocratic and Needless Idealism

Mr. Cox however, rubbished the practicality of the scheme stating in a press release to The Epoch Times, “Frankly the Khan’s new all shiny scrappage scheme remains a con and will put low-income drivers and small businesses into further debt to comply to [sic] his cash-grabbing, undemocratic and needless idealism.”
TfL says nine out of ten cars seen driving in outer London on an average day comply with the ULEZ standards.
But figures obtained by the RAC show more than 690,000 licensed cars in the whole of London are likely to be non-compliant.
This does not take into account other types of vehicles, or those which enter London from neighbouring counties, which will continue to be excluded from the scrappage scheme.
PA Media contributed to this report.
Joseph Robertson is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in coverage of political affairs, net zero and free speech issues.
Related Topics