London ULEZ scrappage scheme 2023: how it works, how to apply and how to check if your car or van is eligible

£110m fund to remove most polluting older vehicles before low-emission zone expands to cover all of Greater London

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London mayor Sadiq Khan has been urged to extend the ULEZ scrappage scheme beyond its current limits as he faces increasing pressure around the clean air zone's expansion.

The massive extension of the low-emissions zone is due to take effect from late August but continues to draw public and political opposition. Most recently Herefordshire Council said it would not allow the scheme's cameras and signs to go up on its boundaries and councillors called for Transport for London's scrappage offer to be extended to drivers from neighbouring authorities.

The £110 million scrappage scheme was announced in January to offer cash and travel discounts to drivers of older and more polluting vehicles who met certain benefits or business criteria. It has already been extended once to include more families and businesses in the expanded area.

The scrappage scheme offers grants of up to £2,000 for car owners, £5,000 for van drivers and up to £9,500 for minibus owners to scrap their vehicle in favour of a ULEZ-complaint one or retrofit their old vehicles to be ULEZ compliant. It also offers discounted public transport or access to car clubs, bike, e-bike and e-scooter subscription programmes.

From August this year, the ULEZ will be extended to cover the whole Greater London area, meaning anyone driving a non-compliant car within that area will have to pay a £12.50 daily charge. TfL estimates that on an average day about 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans will be liable for the ULEZ fee.

TfL says the new scheme will help single parents on incomes up to £30,000, couples earning up to £40,000 and small businesses switch to cleaner transport as well as reducing air pollution in the city. A previous scrappage scheme operated when the ULEZ was extended to cover the area within the North and South Circular roads saw 15,000 non-compliant vehicles scrapped but was heavily oversubscribed.

Who can apply for the ULEZ scrappage scheme?

The ULEZ scrappage scheme is split into two categories. The first applies to private owners of cars, motorcycles and wheelchair accessible vehicles. The second applies to “micro” businesses, sole traders and charities with non-compliant vans or minibuses.

The ULEZ car and motorcycle scrappage scheme is for those living within London’s 32 boroughs or the City of London who are on one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
  • Working Tax Credit
The ULEZ will expand to cover virtually the whole Greater London area from August 2023  (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)The ULEZ will expand to cover virtually the whole Greater London area from August 2023  (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
The ULEZ will expand to cover virtually the whole Greater London area from August 2023 (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

To qualify you must own a car, motorcycle or wheelchair accessible vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standard, which is Euro 3 for motorbikes, Euro 4 for petrol cars and Euro 6 for diesel cars. In general this means bikes registered before July 2003, petrol cars registered before 2006 and diesel cars registered before September 2015.

You can check your car’s or bike’s eligibility via the TfL online checking tool.

Eligible applicants can claim up to £2,000 for scrapping a car, £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle or £5,000 for scrapping or retrofitting a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Alternatively, they can take a smaller grant and claim adult-rate annual bus and tram passes for up to two people, worth more than £3,000.

You can apply for the car and motorbike scrappage scheme via TfL’s website here.

Eligible businesses

The van and minibus scrappage scheme is open to small businesses, individual traders and charities based in London’s 32 boroughs or the City of London.

Previously the offer was only open to micro businesses - with no more than 10 employees, sole traders who own and operates a business within London or charities registered with the Charities Commission. Under the expanded criteria, any small business with fewer than 50 employees registered in London can now apply.

Eligible vehicles must be a light van - up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) - or minibus (up to and including 5 tonnes GVW) which don’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards.

You can then claim up to £5,000 for scrapping or retrofitting a van or for scrapping or retrofitting a minibus. Alternatively, you can claim up to £7,500 to replace a van with an electric one and up to £9,500 to replace a non-compliant minibus with an electric alternative.

The latest changes also introduce a short grace period for businesses await delivery of a zero-emissions vehicle or an appointment to have an existing vehicle retrofitted with zero-emissions power.

Further support

Announcing the expansion, Sadiq Khan said: “The majority of vehicles in London are already ULEZ compliant and will not have to pay anything. But I completely understand the concerns of people who may not have a compliant vehicle and are worried about how they’ll make the transition.

“We already have the biggest-ever scrappage scheme in place to support Londoners on low incomes, London based micro-businesses and charities and disabled Londoners. But I’ve listened to families and small businesses in outer London who want more support and I’m pleased to be able to announce today a major expansion to the scheme run by TfL to ensure we can help them.

“Anyone receiving child benefit and all small businesses in London will now be able to apply for thousands of pounds of support from the end of July."

At the same time, TfL is extending the grace period for disabled motorists or their nominated drivers. The two new grace periods provide exemptions until 24 October 2027 for recipients of certain disability benefits (or their nominated driver) and for all wheelchair accessible vehicles and some vehicles with other adaptations. The new disabled benefits grace period means that anyone who receives benefits that automatically make them eligible for a blue badge will also qualify for the new grace period.

Owners of wheelchair accesible vehicles can also check whether they are eligible for the grace period and apply for approval via the TfL website.

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