Designed to support smaller businesses (defined as up to 50 employees) and charities, the scheme offers grants of £15,000 to help with both the scrappage and replacement of heavy vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes, and retrofitting existing diesel vehicles to ensure they meet Euro-6 standards.
Operators are encouraged to apply early for the scheme, as grants will be limited and provided on a first come, first serve basis, and more than 100 organisations have already pre-registered their interest in taking part.
This builds upon Transport For London’s previous van and minibus scrappage scheme, which operated with similar goals to help remove 5,000 polluting vehicles from London’s roads before being temporarily suspended for vans, as the level of interest outpaced available grants.
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said: “The Ultra Low Emission Zone has already cut toxic air by more than a third and with tighter Low Emission Zone standards due to come in next year we want to ensure there is help for businesses and charities switching coaches or lorries to cleaner greener vehicles.
“While we’re doing all we can in the capital, we now need the government to match our levels of ambition and provide targeted national scrappage funding that supports all those small businesses who want to do the right thing and switch to cleaner vehicles across the UK.”
The tightening of these rules was originally due to come into force in October 2020, but has since been reviewed and deferred due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The new date of March 1st will align the tightening LEZ rules with the beginning of enforcement activity for London’s Direct Vision Standard, which applies for vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes entering the Greater London area as part of plans to combat the rate of deaths and serious injuries within London’s transport network.
Logistics UK has called on the mayor to give operators more time to prepare their fleets in the wake of the financial and operational pressures the logistics industry currently faces, with Logistic’s UK’s head of urban policy Natalie Chapman saying: “Logistics UK does however welcome the launch of the HGV scrappage scheme which will aide small businesses, within the Greater London area, to upgrade their vehicles in order to comply with the tightening of the emissions standards for the LEZ.”