London’s Ulez expansion: Sadiq Khan requests funding for home counties’ scrappage scheme


London’s Ulez expansion: Sadiq Khan requests funding for home counties’ scrappage scheme

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has requested Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to finance a scrappage initiative for residents in the home counties ahead of the planned expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

The scheme hopes to encourage those who drive into the capital with the most polluting vehicles from areas like Surrey and Kent to either retrofit or dispose of them.

Mr. Khan has also appealed to Mr. Sunak to match the £110 million reserved for London’s scrappage program. To enhance air quality, Mr. Khan intends to broaden the Ulez’s coverage to the entire city, starting from August 29, and impose a daily fee of £12.50 on non-compliant vehicles. This proposal has faced severe opposition from several councils, with five councils launching a legal challenge, partly based on the scrappage scheme.

Mr. Khan conveyed this request in a letter to the Prime Minister, “become a doer, rather than a delayer, when it comes to climate action”.

The Mayor of London pointed out that numerous regions implementing clean air zones have obtained financial backing from the Government to eliminate non-compliant vehicles. Examples include Greater Manchester (£120 million), Bristol (£42 million), Birmingham (£38 million), and Bradford (£30 million). However, London and the home counties have not been provided with support.

The mayor wrote: “I urge you to use some of the unexpected £30 billion windfall in the public finances to not only match the funding allocated for scrappage in London, but to introduce a targeted scrappage scheme that provides help to those based in the home counties.”

He went on: “London, the South East and the East of England make net contributions to the Treasury every year, and Londoners pay £500 million of vehicle excise yearly, which is then spent on maintaining roads in other parts of the country. “For our regions to pay in so much and not be helped to reduce carbon emissions and make our air safer to breathe is unfair and doesn’t make sense.”

To avoid the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge for diesel cars and vans, they typically need to have been registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered after 2005 are exempt. In London, there is a scrappage scheme available for vehicles that do not meet emissions standards.

Eligible drivers, such as those with low incomes or disabilities, can receive payments of up to £2,000 for scrapping their car, while charities, sole traders, and small businesses can receive up to £9,500 for scrapping or retrofitting their vans and minibuses. Unfortunately, residents of the home counties are not eligible for this initiative.

Mr Khan wrote that London is “in the grip of a deadly public health crisis”, with toxic air “causing the premature deaths of an estimated 4,000 Londoners every year”.

He continued: “It is abundantly clear then that the cost of inaction is far too high and that further action is needed to safeguard public health and spare people unnecessary suffering.

“I’m simply not prepared to stand idly by while toxic fumes from highly polluting vehicles choke our communities and leave our children reaching for inhalers and gasping for air.

“That’s why I’ve chosen to expand the ultra low emission zone London-wide.”

Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor responded: “This is too little too late from Sadiq. Whilst I agree that the government should contribute to ensure that all those who need it have access to a scrappage scheme, Sadiq Khan should also contribute.

“Residents in Watford pay into TfL’s budget and should have access to the London scrappage scheme as well. Watford deserves better than being caught in the crossfire between the Labour Mayor and Conservative government.

“I have written to both Sadiq Khan and Ministers telling them to stop blaming each other and support residents so that they are not punished by the rushed ULEZ expansion”

WatNews discovered that on uk Government website it states “There has been a long-term decrease in estimated emissions of all of the air pollutants covered by this statistical release (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, particulate matter (PM10, PM2. 5) and sulphur dioxide).”

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