What is the diesel van scrappage scheme?

Scrap an old van and get a grant towards a new one. Here's what was on offer with this diesel van scrappage scheme

Simon Ostler
May 18, 2021

Small business owners have had the opportunity to receive a grant of up to £9,500 for the scrappage of their high-emission diesel vans since February 2019. This is thanks to the scrappage scheme set up by Transport for London (TfL) in a bid to clean up air quality in the capital.

It's an initiative devised to remove older, high-emitting diesel vehicles from the roads and replace them with newer, low-emission alternatives. The incentive for van drivers being that they can save a significant chunk of the value of a new van that is also compliant with the latest ULEZ rules - meaning they can also avoid the £12.50 daily charge for driving in central London.

As of October 2020, the scheme is currently closed to new applications, however anyone who applied before September 28 2020 will be contacted if they are eligible for the grant. There is currently no word on whether it will reopen, but we've got all the details on what was on offer.

The current ULEZ restrictions are based on Euro 6 emission standards, which all new vans have had to comply with since September 2016. So if you're driving a van that was first registered after that date, you won't need to worry about paying the ULEZ charge.

If you missed out on this initiative, but you're still keen to upgrade your current van for something a little more modern, then a used van deal could also prove to be a great value option. Deals on BuyaCar start from £-250 or £187 per month for a Euro 6 compliant model, and we even offer part-exchange so you can put the value of your old vehicle towards the cost of a new one.

Who was the diesel van scrappage scheme available to?

Grants were available for four eligible business types:

  • Micro businesses with 10 or fewer employees, up to £632,000 annual turnover or £316,000 balance sheet total, Companies House registration as an active company in the UK or VAT registered in the UK
  • Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, up to £10.2 million annual turnover or £5.1 million balance sheet total, Companies House registration as an active company in the UK or VAT registered in the UK
  • Sole traders who are self-employed
  • Charities registered with the Charities Commission as an active charity

All eligible companies must be registered at a Greater London Area (GLA) address.

In order to be approved for the grant, the vehicle being scrapped was required to meet a number of criteria:

  • Light vans must weigh up to 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
  • Minibuses must weigh up to 5.0 tonnes GVW
  • All vehicles must not comply with ULEZ standards (Euro 6)
  • The vehicle must have been driven within the Congestion Charge zone at least 26 times between August 28 2018 and February 22 2019
  • Evidence could also be given for journeys made outside of Congestion Charge hours

Replacement vehicles were required to meet the same weight restrictions - light vans up to 3.5 tones, minibuses up to 5.0 tonnes - and comply with ULEZ standards. This includes any Euro 6 diesel models, Euro 4 petrol models, or any hybrid models.

The replacement vehicle was also required to be purchased on a lease deal that was at least two years in length.

The standard grant was £7,000, but this was increased to £9,500 if the replacement vehicle was an electric model.

How to apply for the diesel van scrappage scheme

As we mentioned, the diesel van scrappage scheme is currently closed for new applicants. While the initiative was active, applicants were required to follow a comprehensive process in order to provide evidence for their vehicles' eligibility.

Along with the completion of an online application form and provision of photographic evidence of the Certificate of Destruction for the old vehicle, the following was also required:

  • Vehicle registration documents (V5C)
  • Vehicle insurance documents of the replacement vehicle
  • Proof of purchase, either with a lease or hire agreement of more than two years

What is ULEZ?

The London ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) was introduced on April 8 2019, deterring the use of high-emission vehicles in the city centre with a £12.50 daily charge for all vehicles that do not meet the latest Euro 6 emission standards.

The restriction is due to expand from October 2021, when all non-compliant vehicles will be charged for travelling in a much wider area stretching from the North Circular road to the South Circular.


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