New commercial vehicle scrappage scheme launched

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A new heavy vehicle scrappage scheme has been launched in London ahead of the introduction of tighter emissions standards for the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which comes into force from March 1, 2021. 

The scheme offers commercial fleet operators up to £15,000 to scrap a vehicle and replace it with one that meets the news standards, or to retrofit a diesel vehicle up to the cleanest Euro VI standards.

More than 100 organisations have already pre-registered interest in the scheme, which will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other businesses or charities are encouraged to apply early for a greater chance to benefit from the grants as funding is limited. In total, £48 million has been allocated to scrappage funding, to support schemes for vans, cars and motorcycles, as well as the new heavy vehicle scrappage scheme.  

The van scrappage scheme ran for 18 months and helped take some 5,000 non-compliant vehicles off London’s roads, replacing them with Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) compliant vehicles.

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.”

The existing LEZ emissions standards set a limit for how much particulate matter (PM) a vehicle can emit in its exhaust gases. The new LEZ standards will require heavy vehicles to meet the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards for both PM and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) in order to avoid the daily charge, rather than the Euro IV standard currently required of vehicles of this type.

A Euro IV or Euro V (PM only) HGV, lorry, van or other specialist heavy vehicle over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, or a bus/minibus or coach over 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, being driven within the LEZ will pay £100. You will pay £300 if the vehicle does not meet Euro IV standard (PM only). 

The standards were previously set to come in at the end of October 2020 but, in response to the impact of the pandemic, were delayed for at least four months. Following a review, it is now confirmed that they will come in on March 1, 2021.

Commercial fleets face the double whammy of having to comply with Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS), also introduced from March 1, 2021. 

The DVS, to be introduced in partnership with London Councils, aims to reduce lethal blind spots in HGVs of more than 12 tonnes, with a safety permit system that assigns vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window. HGVs with a zero-star rating will be required to fit additional vehicle safety features.  

Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK’s head of urban policy, said: “Logistics UK and its members fully support the Mayor of London’s ambition to improve road safety and reduce air pollution in the capital. However, we have raised concerns with TfL regarding the economic impacts these schemes would place on the industry. Therefore, given the immense financial and operational pressure the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on logistics businesses, we are disappointed to see the Mayor of London has not further delayed the introduction of both schemes.”

Logistics UK, formerly the Freight Transport Association (FTA), says that in order to meet the necessary requirements of the DVS scheme, a significant proportion of vehicles will need to have additional equipment fitted. However, there are no financial support packages to assist with DVS compliance which will make delivery of the Mayor’s Vision Zero strategy more costly during this difficult time.

Chapman continued: “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.”

For more information about London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ), click here

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