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5,000 Ulez scrappage grants approved


5,000 Ulez scrappage grants approved


lmost 5,000 applications to Sadiq Khan’s £110m Ulez scrappage fund have been approved – with van drivers claiming the lion’s share of the cash.

Transport for London said nearly £18m of grants – a sixth of the total – had been allocated since the fund opened at the end of January.

However TfL was unable to say on Friday morning how many applications were waiting to be approved – or had been rejected.

Of the TfL cash allocated so far, more than £13.5m will enable vans, minibuses and coaches that breach the Ulez emission rules to be replaced with cleaner vehicles, while more than £4m will help take non-compliant cars and motorbikes off the capital’s roads.

This suggests that the scheme will have enough cash to take about 30,000 non-compliant vehicles off the road in London – about five per cent of the 690,000 registered in the capital that are thought to breach the Ulez exhaust rules.

It came as City Hall urged London motorists to check whether they stand to benefit from the scheme, amid concerns that thousands may not realise they are eligible for financial help.

The scrappage scheme is designed to help low-income Londoners, disabled drivers, small businesses and charities avoid the £12.50-a-day levy when the mayor’s clean air scheme expands to the Greater London boundary on August 29.

Drivers who failed to secure a pay-out from previous Ulez scrappage schemes, which were massively oversubscribed, are entitled to make a new application.

TfL said that 4,833 applications had been approved to date – 2,183 to scrap cars and motorbikes (£4,174,000 of grants) and 2,650 to scrap vans and minibuses (£13,553,500).

Recipients include almost 1,700 low-income drivers, 500 disabled Londoners, 1,329 sole traders, 1,290 “micro businesses” – those with 10 employees or fewer – and 31 charities.

The scheme offers £1,000 for a motorbike, £2,000 for a car, £5,000 for a van and £7,000 for a minibus. In addition, £5,000 grants are available to scrap or retrofit a van or wheelchair-accessible vehicle, while replacing a van or minibus with a fully electric vehicle attracts payments of £7,500 or £9,500 respectively.

TfL said it expected a flood of applications as the expansion date approached. Most petrol vehicles under 16 years old and diesels under six years old are Ulez-compliant and do not need to be replaced.

People likely to be eligible include couples with no children earning up to £36,000 a year and in rented accommodation.

A couple with two children, renting and earning in excess of £50,000 a year could also qualify if they receive Universal Credit.

Pensioners who receive housing benefit to help pay their rent may also qualify.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy said: “While the vast majority of cars driving in outer London on an average day are compliant, I urge drivers to use our vehicle checker and if they have a non-compliant vehicle, check their eligibility for the scrappage scheme to help them make the switch to greener and cleaner travel.”

The City Hall Conservatives said the grants were “woefully inadequate” and were forcing some charities to axe services.

Those affected include Dogs On The Street, Wallington Animal Rescue, Charity Begins At Home and Hatton School & Special Needs Centre, according to Tory transport spokesman Nick Rogers.

He said: “The scrappage scheme is woefully inadequate and will do next to nothing to address the damage the Ulez expansion plans will cause.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has refused to provide Government funds to increase the size of the TfL scrappage scheme.

Businesses based on the outskirts of London are not entitled to apply for scrappage funds – though this rule will be tested at a High Court hearing in July.

Chris Bowden fears the Ulez expansion will have a “substantial” impact on his Dartford-based catering company, Relish. It does not qualify for the scrappage scheme because it does not have a registered address in the capital.

Two of its three vans – which are refrigerated to keep food fresh – are 10-year-old diesels that are non-compliant with the Ulez.

Mr Bowden said: “The additional cost to our business of our refrigerated vehicles crossing into greater London four or five times a week is going to make a huge difference to our overheads.

“The challenging trading climate we are already facing will be exacerbated by these intended charges and push us further away from recovery.”

But Alex Achilleos, managing director of Inside Out Eventz caterers, in Cockfosters, said: “The scrappage scheme has enabled us to take one of our older, polluting vans off the road and buy one that meets the Ulez standards.”

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