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London’s Mayor Takes On Heavy Vehicle Scrappage To Fight Air Pollution

The mayor of London is launching a heavy vehicle scrappage scheme to help solve the problem of toxic air in the city prior to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards going into effect in March 2021.

The mayor of London is launching a heavy vehicle scrappage scheme to help solve the problem of toxic air in the city prior to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards going into effect in March 2021.

Image courtesy Volta Zero

Heavy vehicles are important for various roles, but they have a toxic side effect: they disproportionately impact London’s air quality and create a large amount of road-based pollution. Mayor Sadiq Khan’s scrappage scheme will help small businesses and charities that are doing their part in cleaning up the air to overcome remaining challenges.

Cleaning up London’s air is crucial to protecting the public especially in light of the pandemic. Air pollution has been linked to more severe cases of COVID-19.

The scheme will give out grants of £15,000 to scrap a heavy vehicle and replace it with a compliant vehicle or to retrofit diesel vehicles up to the class’s Euro VI standards. Several organizations have already pre-registered — over 100 — and the scheme will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The mayor is encouraging other businesses or charities to apply early for a higher chance to benefit from the grants, which have limited funding.

Photo courtesy BYD

This scheme is following the footsteps of another one that helped both businesses and charities to scrap older, more polluting vans and minibuses. The van scrappage scheme ran for 18 months and had enough support to take 5,000 polluting vehicles off of London’s streets. It also helped charities and small businesses become Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ ) compliant. For charities, the scheme remains open due to their important work during the pandemic. Also, low-income and disabled citizens can still apply to scrap non-ULEZ compliant cars and motorcycles.

Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, pointed out how successful the Mayor of London has been with this crisis, but that the government needs to step in and help more. “The mayor is doing everything in his power to stop Londoners breathing air so filthy that it damages children’s lungs and causes thousands of premature deaths. 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,” she said. “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.”

“Coaches and buses are some of the cleanest vehicles on our roads but the costs associated with replacing or retrofitting older vehicles are significant and often a barrier to doing so,” Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), admitted on behalf of his organization’s members. “Despite the pandemic operators retain ambitions to further green their fleets and this welcome funding will help many small family businesses, where possible, to do so.”

The current LEZ emissions standards limit how much particulate matter a vehicle can emit from its exhaust gases. The new LEZ standards will require heavy vehicles to meet the cleanest Euro VI emissions standard for particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The standards were previously planned to begin at the end of this month, but the pandemic changed those plans and they were delated until March of 2021.

The scrappage scheme is opened to sole traders, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, and charities. It targets HGVs and specialist vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes as well as buses, coaches, and minibusses that exceed 5 tonnes.

The Mayor of London has provided £48 million in total for scrappage funding. This supports the van, car, motorcycle, and heavy vehicle scrappage schemes. The mayor’s official submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) includes the creation of a national £1.5 billion Clean Air Fund. This will help cities to fairly implement the Clean Air Zones and solve the issues of emissions. This includes vehicle scrappage and retrofit schemes.

If you own any of these vehicles and would like to see if they are compliant with the new LEZ emissions standards, you can click here to learn more.

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Johnna Crider is a Louisiana native who likes crawfish, gems, minerals, EVs, and advocates for sustainability. Johnna is also the host of, a jewelry artisan and a $TSLA shareholder.


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