Thursday, January 23, 2020

Moves to Improve London Air Quality Include Amendments to Van (and soon HGV) Scrappage Scheme

Double Payments to Boost Cleaner Vehicle Sales and Larger Firms and Road Haulage Trucks Eligible
Shipping News Feature

UK – In a move which will please road haulage interests and, as part of the Mayor of London's action to tackle dirty air across the capital, Sadiq Khan has announced a series of measures that will accelerate the move to cleaner vehicles across the capital, which include plans to double payments for his van scrappage scheme to £7,000, with £9,500 also now available to those switching to electric vans.

The increased funding should enable more van owners to switch to cleaner vehicles, while helping businesses prepare for the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which is due to extend to the north and south circular next year, and the tightening of the London-wide Low Emission Zone standards this October.

The Mayor has also announced that he is broadening the eligibility for the van scrappage scheme so that more businesses can benefit. Previously firms with fewer than 10 employees, defined as micro businesses, were eligible. Now small businesses, those with 50 or fewer employees, are also included.

Alongside helping van owners, the Mayor is taking action later this year to support small businesses operating heavy vehicles. Heavy vehicles, which include HGVs, coaches and buses that are not part of the TfL network, make up more than a third of the harmful pollution from transport.

To help clean up the heavy vehicle fleet, the van scrappage scheme will open to small businesses operating heavy vehicles later this year. TfL is finalising the details of the scheme, but it is expected that it will be in the form of a grant of around £15,000 for each polluting heavy vehicle, up to a maximum of three vehicles. Christina Calderato, TfL’s Head of Transport Strategy and Planning, said:

“We know that vans and heavy vehicles play a major part in the capital’s economy and are intrinsic to both logistics and leisure. Unfortunately the freight and coach sectors currently also make a significant contribution to London’s dirty air. That’s why we are providing these grants to help businesses green up and ensure Londoners can breathe more easily.”

To further support businesses to prepare for the ULEZ, as well as to help clean up local high streets, the Mayor is also announcing a further £1.75 million in London economic action partnership (LEAP) funding to deliver six more business-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LEN).

Projects to be funded include the installation of one of the UK’s first ultra-fast electric vehicle charging depots in partnership with EON, providing multiple fast charging points, and the provision of additional zero emissions delivery services.

These projects have so far delivered targeted pollution-busting measures in pollution hotspots across London, such as the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Streets in Shoreditch, a 16% reduction in older more polluting vehicles parking in the Marylebone LEN, and new clean air routes to destinations such as Guys Hospital and Regents Park which help pedestrians reduce their exposure to pollution by up to 60%. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“Our dirty air is a national health crisis that contributes to thousands of premature deaths every year. While bold action such as our Ultra Low Emission Zone is starting to make a difference in London, I want to ensure there is help for businesses making the switch to cleaner greener vehicles, whether you rely on a van, lorry or coach.

“While we’re doing all we can in the capital, we now need the Government to match our levels of ambition and fund a national scrappage scheme that supports all those small businesses who want to do the right thing and switch to cleaner vehicles across the UK.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has strongly welcomed the Mayor of London and Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to increase its financial support for businesses needing to replace their current vans and HGVs with newer, cleaner models in preparation for the tightening of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards later this year. The FTA believes this funding is vital for the Mayor of London to achieve his clean air ambition without placing a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of local businesses. Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of South of England and Urban Policy, commented:

“The FTA is delighted TfL has decided to increase its financial support for local companies preparing for the tightening of the London-wide LEZ standards and upcoming expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). While businesses within the logistics sector are determined to play their part in improving London’s air quality, they must have the right financial support in place; many simply do not have the resources to replace their existing fleets to meet the new, required emission standards. By doubling payments for van scrappage and expanding the criteria for support, TfL has shown it is committed to easing the financial burden its clean air ambition places on the industry.

“The FTA will work closely with TfL to ensure the scheme supports the businesses expected to be hardest hit by the ULEZ and LEZ: small businesses, operators of specialist vehicles, and those based within the Zones. And while we are especially pleased to see TfL is developing a funding programme for HGVs, and look forward to seeing the details of this emerge in the coming months, we are calling for the body to recognise that currently there are very few retrofit options available for HGVs. As such, whole vehicle replacement is the only viable option for the vast majority of the HGV fleet.”

The ULEZ, which was introduced last April and has some of the toughest emission standards in the world, has seen 13,500 fewer older, more polluting vehicles each day enter the zone. It is also estimated that harmful NOx emissions from transport have been reduced by more than 30% in central London so far.

Photo: Nothing new under the sun, Harrods added an electric delivery van a century after first using them.