ULEZ ruling: SME vehicle scrappage campaign begins next week


The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) expansion has been ruled lawful by the High Court – with fresh vehicle scrappage incentives rolled out to SMEs from next week. 

Image credit: Matt Brown, via Wikimedia Commons.

The scheme will come into effect across all London boroughs from 29 August, to improve London’s air quality and people’s health.    

ULEZ currently spans the area between the North and South Circular roads, once implemented it will cover an area three-times that size.  

A £12.50 daily fee will be charged for non-compliant vehicles, and those that fail to pay the charge could face a fine of up to £160.   

This extends to diesel vans registered before September 2016 and petrol vans registered before January 2006. 

The Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, faced opposition to his ULEZ proposal in the High Court, following a legal challenge launched in February by Conservative councils in Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey.  

But, despite claims by the councils the mayor had exceeded his legal powers, the High Court ruled the expansion was lawful. 

In April, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) wrote to Mr Khan warning of the knock-on effects of the ULEZ expansion on tradespeople, customers and its members, adding Greater London may become a ‘no-go area for SMEs’ whose livelihoods rely on non-compliant vehicles.  

Champion Building Services director, Daniel Campion, baulked at the mounting costs tradespeople face working in central London, potentially exacerbated when the ULEZ expansion takes effect.     

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, had urged the mayor to push back his proposal by 12 months, and had called for a “targeted” commercial vehicle scrappage scheme to support tradespeople.  

Following pushback from SMEs and London households, the mayor recently announced his scrappage scheme, an up to £3,000 package aimed at low-income Londoners to scrap their old polluting vehicles ahead of the expansion.    

From next week, he will expand the scrappage scheme to all small businesses with up to 50 employees. 

Commenting on the “landmark” High Court ruling, the mayor said: “The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have. 

“The ULEZ has already reduced toxic nitrogen dioxide air pollution by nearly half in central London and a fifth in inner London. The coming expansion will see five million more Londoners being able to breathe cleaner air.” 

Adding: “I’ve been listening to Londoners throughout the ULEZ rollout, which is why from next week I am expanding the scrappage scheme to nearly a million families who receive child benefit and all small businesses with up to fifty employees.”  

The BMF was approached for comment.  

Image credit: Matt Brown, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

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