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London unveils scrappage scheme for higher pollution vans

Sadiq Khan expects to introduce £23m support initiative for micro businesses by April as part of broader efforts to curb environmental impacts of building services sector

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has unveiled a £23m scrappage scheme for vans emitting higher levels of pollution in the city to address air quality concerns.

The commitments, initially aimed at micro-businesses of under ten employees that are reliant on older model vans, builds on a number of environmental initiatives launched in the capital this year that may impact the future of how the building services sector operates.

The proposed scrappage programme is intended to support a switch to cleaner vehicles, such as electric transportation. A statement from the mayor’s office said the initiative was planned to be in place before the introduction of a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London that will see charges for vehicles travelling in the areas that fail to meet stricter standards on emissions.

The statement said, “Diesel vans which do not meet the latest Euro 6 emission standard will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London.”

Funding will be provided to assist with scrapping vans that fail to meet the required standards of the ULEZ and travel in the zone on a regular basis.

Local transport authorities will assist with deciding how best to ensure that funds are more effectively used to replace a wide number of higher pollution vehicles.

London’s mayor will also try and push government to match its own funding allocation from existing initiatives such as the National Clean Air fund or via a £75m air quality fund managed by Highways England.

Mr Khan has argued that ensuring additional funding was being spent in London was justified considering the contributions of Londoners to such schemes through taxation, especially with the city representing a large number of the UK’s most polluted roads.

He added, “It’s not good enough to do nothing, and I’m determined to take real action which is why I’ve already delivered the Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest polluting vehicles, cleaned up our bus fleet, and brought forward the Ultra Low Emission Zone. My scrappage scheme is my next step in tackling pollution.”

Sue Terpilowski, chair of London policy with the Federation of Small Businesses, said the organisation welcomed efforts to support micro businesses in particular to help meet environmental challenges posed by a wider national push to less carbon intensive business.

She said, “FSB has long argued that tackling air quality is a critical issue for London and we have been vocal with the mayor to approach this brave new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) world with ‘carrot-based incentives’ to aid struggling small firms who are faced with changing an expensive vehicle stock – many of whom are facing damagingly high costs of doing business in the capital.”

The Mayor of London has also announced a £10m commercial boiler scrappage scheme earlier this year to try and encourage take up of more efficient appliances.

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