2019 diesel van scrappage scheme: can you benefit?

Small firms set to be handed cash to upgrade older vans. Latest details of London's 2019 diesel van scrappage scheme

Dominic Tobin
Jan 3, 2019

Small businesses will be handed cash to scrap old diesel vans from Spring, ahead of London’s new £12.50 daily pollution charge.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has set aside £23m for a diesel van scrappage scheme. It will be aimed at micro businesses - with fewer than ten employees - to help them afford cleaner vehicles before the arrival of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in April.

Most diesel vans that were on the road before September 2016 will be liable for the £12.50 ULEZ charge because they don't meet the latest emissions standards, known as Euro 6. The scrappage scheme is likely to provide London-based companies with a discount when they scrap an old van. 

It's not clear whether buyers will be able to scrap their old van for a used van that is ULEZ compliant. A spokesperson for Transport for London told BuyaCar: “We’re still working out the finer details on whether it will, or won’t apply to used vans as well as new ones.”

Similar schemes may also be launched in other British cities.

More than 276,000 van drivers will be affected by London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which will impose a £12.50 charge on drivers of all but the latest vans in a bid to improve air quality. This comes on top of the £11.50 Congestion Charge.

The zone comes into force in central London on April 8 next year and will expand to cover a vast area of the capital, between the North and South Circular roads in October 2021.

All new diesel vans registered since September 2016 have had to meet Euro 6 emissions standards, which set limits for the amount of harmful particulate and nitrogen oxide compounds produced from the exhaust.

Most vans registered before this date don’t comply, and will be liable for the charge. The regulations for petrol vans are less strict: these must meet Euro 4 standards, which were introduced in 2006, to be ULEZ-exempt.

The cost for small business owners are set to be enormous. Anyone driving into the zone every day with an older diesel van, will face a bill of £250 each month, which is enough to cover the finance costs of a nearly new van.

Khan will announce full details of the scheme next year. Details that are not yet known include the amount of money on offer per van; eligible vehicles; and whether recipients will be able to buy nearly new vans, as well as new models.

The Mayor has also called for the government to match his £23m fund, which would enable to scheme to be larger.

Other cities are planning to set up similar schemes to London’s, which will be known as low emission zones or clean air zones. Birmingham, Sheffield and Bath are among those with plans to impose charges on older vans in the next two years. Birmingham and Sheffield are also examining plans for their own scrappage schemes.

Some car manufacturers are still offering their own scrappage schemes, which offer owners of old vehicles a discount on a brand new one.


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