Hillingdon Council has issued a warning urging road users who have not yet exchanged their cars ahead of the ULEZ expansion to do so. In a post on the local authority’s Twitter, the council has told people that starting today individuals and businesses can apply for funding to replace cars that are not compliant.
The council’s reminder comes in light of the High Court dismissing its legal challenge against the extension of ULEZ to Outer London which will come into effect on August 29. Those who still have not received the thousands of pounds in support to update their vehicles are being told, with just over a week to go, that now is the time to apply.
The ULEZ scrappage scheme has been expanded significantly since it was first introduced in 2019 when Mayor Sadiq Khan first announced the creation of an Ultra Low Emission Zone in Central London. After releasing plans showing that the zone would be increased to cover the whole of London, initially only people on specific benefits were offered the chance to apply for a grant, however, this week that has been expanded to include anyone with a non-compliant car.
Early statistics showed that even before the enlargement of those who had a right to claim, Hillingdon saw the most amount of money given to residents to replace cars, vans, minivans and motorcycles with the borough receiving £2m from the Greater London Authority between January 30 and May 21. Starting today (August 21) any owners of non-compliant cars in Outer London can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to swap them, while small businesses (under 50 employees) and sole traders can receive up to £21,000 to scrap up to three vans. These rules also apply to charities.
Residents will receive up to £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle. For wheelchair accessible vehicles there is a payment of £10,000 to scrap or £6,000 to retrofit to the ULEZ standards.
People with disabilities are entitled to special exemptions from the charge with a grace period in place for certain permit holders and benefit recipients that extend until October 2027 the details of which can be found on the Great London Authority website. Businesses and charities can also apply for ULEZ exemptions if they are waiting for a new, compliant vehicle to arrive or their old vehicles are being retrofitted, however, this period is much shorter and much be applied for.
Concern over the expansion of the zone has led to backlash across London with Labour’s recent loss in July’s by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip being labelled a ‘referendum on ULEZ’. Reports have also found that newly installed ULEZ cameras, designed to enforce the scheme, are being vandalised across areas soon to be included in the expansion.
Hillingdon Council lost its High Court challenge alongside four other councils against the expansion, and has commented that despite the scrappage scheme being extended to cover all its residents it feels it is too little too late.
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “The Mayor’s expanded scrappage scheme, announced off the back of our legal challenge, has come too late and just doesn’t go far enough to offer tangible help to our residents and local businesses.
“While the legal challenge shone a spotlight on the original scrappage scheme’s shortcomings, there’s still not enough support or time allowed in this revised package to alleviate the financial strain already being felt by local households, charities and small businesses from the increased costs of living.”