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ULEZ reforms could pave the way to a safer, greener London

Friday 27 January 2023

Following a campaign by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) calling on reforms to the scheme, ahead of the ULEZ expansion in August, the London Assembly passed an amendment to the Mayor’s budget, that could help Londoners during this cost of living crisis. Within the Greater London Authority’s £125 million of unallocated reserves, it was announced that money will be used to increase the scale and the scope of the vehicle scrappage scheme which, until now, has not been fit for purpose.

The Mayor also told the Assembly that he planned to announce changes to the vehicle scrappage scheme. During yesterday’s Assembly debate, the London Chamber’s calls for reform to the scheme was highlighted by the London Assembly’s Economy Committee Chair, Hina Bokhari AM.

LCCI is fully supportive of ULEZ expansion but has repeatedly called for vital reforms to the vehicle scrappage scheme to make it easier for small firms to change from diesel to electric vehicles. These included:

  • The reintroduction of the 2020 ULEZ Scrappage Scheme for HGVs, which gave grants of up to £15,000 per vehicle to help the transition to ULEZ-compliant vehicles
  • Sufficient time and financial help for SMEs to access environmentally friendly HGVs, especially as prices are rising due to the high demand for and low supply of electric and hybrid vehicles
  • The introduction of a ‘green transition list’ for businesses that can prove they have purchased and are waiting for the arrival of an environmentally friendly HGV, so that firms can continue to use their current vehicles in the meantime without being penalised – at a time when there is a shortage of electric vehicles coming onto the market due, in part, to global microchip shortages.

The welcome announcements by the Mayor and the London Assembly yesterday marks a very positive development in the journey towards a safer, greener city and will enable businesses to play their part in ensuring the ULEZ expansion improves air quality in the capital.

James Watkins, Head of Policy and Public Impact at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: “We welcome the positive steps made by the Mayor and the London Assembly to reform the ULEZ vehicle scrappage scheme.   Supporting London’s scrappage scheme – when it is fit for purpose - will be vital in ensuring the ULEZ operation is a success and that businesses can play their part in improving London’s air quality. We look forward to receiving information on the changes to the scheme. Reform is a must if everyone in the capital is to work together to make London a safer, greener and more sustainable city.”