Khan launches £25m ‘scrap for cash’ dirty vehicle scheme

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on ministers to toughen the UK’s targets for reaching legal pollution limits, as he launched a ‘scrap for cash’ dirty vehicle scheme for low-income and disabled Londoners.

Polluting vehicles currently account for approximately 50 per cent of London’s harmful NOx air emissions, while air pollution as a whole has an economic cost to the capital of up to £3.7 billion every year, and £20 billion cost to the country every year.

Due to run alongside the existing £23 million fund for micro businesses, sole traders and charity owners who want to scrap older vans, the new scrappage scheme aims to help Londoners on low incomes or with disabilities, ahead of the Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion in 2021 up to the North and South Circular roads. Through the scheme motorists can get up to £2,000 for scrapping an older, more polluting car or motorcycle.

Together with the cities network UK100, Khan hosted an International Air Quality summit at City Hall, bringing together city leaders, environmentalists and businesses. At the summit, Khan called on the government to immediately amend the draft Environment Bill to adopt the WHO PM2.5 target of 2030, and give UK cities the powers and funding to make this happen.

Khan said: “Air pollution is a national health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leading to thousands of premature deaths. City leaders across the world are united in raising the alarm about the dangers posed by poor air quality. Here in London with our bold plans we have already cut pollution by a third in central London where we have implemented the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and worked tirelessly to clean up the bus and taxi fleet.

“Despite the lack of government support, our car and motorcycle scrappage scheme will enable low-income and disabled Londoners to scrap their older, polluting vehicles and switch to cleaner versions. We need government ministers to follow London’s lead and help clean our filthy air once and for all, by toughening up targets to meet the WHO air quality guidelines by 2030 and supporting a national vehicle renewal fund that will help all UK motorists to ditch their polluting cars.”

Polly Billington, director of UK100, said: "We're bringing together businesses, political leaders and health experts to agree a plan to tackle air pollution. Our summit will last for one day - but in that time our toxic air will have contributed to another 100 people dying across the UK. That should focus all our minds."