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What Is the ULEZ Scrappage Scheme?

A ULEZ road sign beside a modern block of flats
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Oct 11, 2023
3 minutes read

Clear air in the UK’s capital city is of paramount importance, which is why drivers are now charged to drive in the entirety of Greater London if their vehicles don’t meet emissions standards. The most polluting vehicles have to pay £12.50 a day for the privilege of driving around London.

While this has created plenty of backlash, there is help available for those whose vehicles don’t meet emissions standards. Very few people will want to purchase a second-hand vehicle that cannot be driven in Greater London without needing to pay a daily charge. This is one of the reasons why a £160 million scrappage scheme has been launched to help drivers get rid of older, more polluting vehicles.

When Was the ULEZ Implemented?

Back in 2015, the Mayor of London at the time, Boris Johnson, announced the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). This was to be implemented in September 2020, but was then introduced by current mayor, Sadiq Khan, early in 2019. Back then, the zones were mainly centralised, but in August 2023, the ULEZ was expanded to include the whole of Greater London.

Is My Car ULEZ Compliant?

Vehicles that don’t meet ULEZ criteria are much older, generally having been built before 2007. You can perform a quick check by looking at the points below.

If your vehicle is any of the following, it will not be compliant:

  • Petrol cars and vans not meeting Euro 4 standards (pre-2006 vehicles)

  • Motorbikes not meeting Euro 3 standards (pre-2007 vehicles)

  • Diesel cars and vans not meeting Euro 6 standards (pre-2015 vehicles)

  • Buses, coaches and lorries not meeting Euro 6 standards (must pay £100 a day)

If you’re still unsure, you can always check the Transport for London website and fill in your number plate.

Options Available With Non-Compliant ULEZ Vehicles

You can either pay the daily charge, find an alternative way to travel or replace your car. The last option is only realistically possible with the help of the scrappage scheme.

How Does the ULEZ Scrappage Scheme Work?

Cars, motorbikes and wheelchair accessible vehicles that don’t meet low emissions standards can qualify for up to £10,000 through the ULEZ scrappage scheme. These are split into several options, depending on whether you would also like annual travel passes at the same time.

The scrappage payments are included as follows:

  • Scrap a car: £2,000

  • Scrap a car (with 1 adult rate annual bus and tram pass): £1,600

  • Scrap a car (with 2 adult rate annual bus and tram passes): £1,400

  • Scrap a motorbike: £1,000

  • Scrap a motorbike (with 1 adult rate annual bus and tram pass): £600

  • Scrap a motorbike (with 2 adult rate annual bus and tram passes): £200

  • Scrap a wheelchair accessible vehicle (car or van): £10,000

  • Retrofit a wheelchair accessible vehicle (only van): £6,000

According to the TfL website, although the scrappage allowances with passes are a lower amount, their value is worth more than the max scrappage. For example, scrapping a car and receiving 1 annual travel pass is worth more than £2,500. With two passes, this raises to more than £3,000.

Who Is Eligible for the ULEZ Scrappage Scheme?

In order to apply, you need to live within one of London’s 32 boroughs or the City of London. You must also be the registered keeper of the non-compliant vehicle. Finally, the vehicle needs to have been registered in your name at your address since 30th January 2022 or before, with valid insurance, road tax and an MOT.

Why Is This Being Offered?

Amidst all the claims that the ULEZ expansion has been too quick and that costs in the current market have made it difficult to purchase alternative vehicles, the scrappage scheme aims to relieve a lot of this worry. The financial stress of selling a non-compliant vehicle, coupled with a lack of funds to purchase a replacement, has been an overwhelming source of concern. Fortunately, help is available.

Paving the Way for EVs

Electric vehicles are the way of the future, and groundwork is in place to ensure all new vehicles will be fully electric by 2035. The main benefit of EVs is that there are no exhaust emissions produced by these cars when they are in use. The cheapest way to charge them is by using a home charger.

If you’re fortunate enough to have your own drive, you can purchase an EV home charger. Find out more by reading our related EV articles.