TfL increases fleet funding for van scrappage scheme

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Increased financial support for fleets to prepare for the tightening of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Transport for London (TfL) is doubling payments for its van scrappage scheme to £7,000, after a poor take up of the initial offer.

Just £2.3 million of the £28m fund was spent in 2019, according to the London Evening Standard.

FTA says the additional funding is vital for the Mayor of London to achieve his clean air ambition without placing a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of local businesses. 

Natalie Chapman, head of south of England and Urban Policy at FTA, said she was “delighted” TfL has decided to increase its financial support for local companies preparing for the tightening of the London-wide LEZ standards and upcoming expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The van scrappage scheme was launched in February 2018. Fleet operators with fewer than 10 employees could apply for either a payment of £3,500 to scrap a non-compliant van or minibus to purchase a Euro 6 vehicle, or £6,000 to buy a new EV.

The funding has now been increased to £7,000 to buy a Euro 6 vehicle with £9,500 available for the purchase of an electric vans.  

It’s also been expanded to include small businesses with up to 50 employees.

Chapman explained: “While businesses within the logistics sector are determined to play their part in improving London’s air quality, they must have the right financial support in place; many simply do not have the resources to replace their existing fleets to meet the new, required emission standards.

“By doubling payments for van scrappage and expanding the criteria for support, TfL has shown it is committed to easing the financial burden its clean air ambition places on the industry.” 

FTA says it will work closely with TfL to ensure the scheme supports the businesses expected to be hardest hit by the ULEZ and LEZ: small businesses, operators of specialist vehicles, and those based within the Zones.

The van scrappage scheme will open to small businesses operating heavy vehicles later this year. TfL is finalising the details of the scheme, but it is expected that it will be in the form of a grant of around £15,000 for each polluting heavy vehicle, up to a maximum of three vehicles.

“While we are especially pleased to see TfL is developing a funding programme for HGVs – and look forward to seeing the details of this emerge in the coming months – we are calling for the body to recognise that currently there are very few retrofit options available for HGVs,” continued Chapman.

“As such, whole vehicle replacement is the only viable option for the vast majority of the HGV fleet.”

London's ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day, within the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge. 

The ULEZ standards are:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro VI (NOx and PM) for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles (NOx and PM)

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) operates to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in London to become cleaner. The LEZ covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Tougher LEZ standards are coming on 26 October 2020 for heavy vehicles including HGVs, lorries, vans, buses, coaches, minibuses and other specialist diesel vehicles.

Current LEZ emissions standards set a limit for how much particulate matter (PM) a vehicle may emit. The tougher standards will also set a limit for nitrogen oxides (NOx) for some vehicles.

For lorries, vans or specialist heavy vehicle over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, and buses/minibuses or coaches over 5 tonnes, the current standard for the LEZ is Euro IV (PM). The new standard will be Euro VI (NOx and PM), which will be the same as the ULEZ standard, and these vehicles will no longer need to pay a separate ULEZ charge.

For vans or specialist diesel vehicles from 1.205 tonnes unladen weight up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, and minibuses up to 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, the current standard is Euro 3 (PM), there is no change. Operators and drivers will continue to pay the daily LEZ charge if their vehicle does not meet Euro 3 for PM.

If you drive a 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 within the LEZ and it does not meet Euro VI (NOx and PM) you will need to pay a daily charge of £100. If it does not meet Euro IV (PM) you will need to pay a daily charge of £300.

The LEZ is separate from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which is in place in central London and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas Day.


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