There is no money left in Transport for London’s vehicle scrappage schemes, it has emerged.
The revelation deals a major blow to thousands of low income and disabled Londoners understood to be on the waiting list for cash to swap or retrofit their older vehicles for a greener model.
The existence of the scrappage scheme was used to defend the Ultra Low Emissions Zone ( ULEZ ) when it was expanded to cover an area 18 times larger than the previous version, just a month ago.
On the day that ULEZ was expanded, Sadiq Khan told MyLondon there was “money [left] in that scheme”.
“It’s because of the concern we’ve got for disabled Londoners who need their car that we’ve introduced the scrappage scheme,” the Mayor said.
The scrappage scheme offered £2,000 grants to let Londoners hand in vehicles that failed to comply with ULEZ exhaust emission rules, designed to tackle air pollution.
Now it has emerged that the £61m scrappage scheme funding has been exhausted – with no extra cash pledged from City Hall or central government.
A TfL spokesperson told London Assembly members on Thursday: “All Transport for London’s scrappage schemes have now closed for new applications as all available funds have been allocated.”
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TfL’s updated page on the ULEZ scrappage scheme now says it is closed, adding: “If your vehicle does not meet the required Ultra Low Emission Zone standards, you can walk or cycle wherever possible, or use public transport.”
Lib Dem Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon condemned the “abrupt end” for applications to the vehicle scrappage scheme.
“TfL knew how the money was being allocated and should have been honest with Londoners as to when the scheme would run out,” she said.
And Nick Rogers, Conservative London Assembly Member branded TfL’s move to close the scheme “deeply irresponsible.”
He said low income and disabled Londoners face a “brutal choice” of paying £12.50 a day or forking out for a new vehicle.
The Conservatives are calling for the Mayor, who chairs TfL, to use £50m in City Hall reserves to revive the scrappage schemes.
TfL’s scrappage schemes have taken 13,000 polluting vehicles off London’s roads, including 8,000 cars and more than 5,200 vans and minibuses.
The vast majority – 87 per cent – of vehicles travelling in the expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone are meeting the ULEZ standards, in a hit to TfL’s revenues but a boon to Londoners’ lungs.
A TfL spokesperson said the £61m scrappage scheme had been “hugely successful” and faced high demand.
City Hall hopes the expanded ULEZ scheme will lead to a fall of around 30 per cent in harmful nitrogen dioxide in London.