Following the success of the last scrappage scheme, which saw more than 15,000 polluting vehicles removed from London's roads. The Mayor of London has announced a new £110m scheme aimed to assist those on lower incomes, disabled Londoners, charities, sole traders and businesses, that will see successful applicants receiving grant payments for discounts on subscriptions, rentals and purchases of bicycles, including the best mountain bikes, gravel bikes and e-bikes, and also allows payments to be used in replacing or retrofitting their old polluting vehicles.
The Mayor of London’s office has confirmed that the ULEZ expansion will help clear London's air and assist London residents to switch to cleaner, greener modes of transport. This is a key aspect of an attempt to rid London of the highest polluting vehicles as the city prepares for the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) across all boroughs from 29 August 2023.
Many brands from the bike industry have signed up to take part, including Brompton, Bikeworks, Cake, Fully Charged, Humanforest, Larry vs Harry (Bullitt), Lime, Paradise Cycles, Peddle my Wheels, Tern Bicycles, Tier, Volt and Santander Cycles. Electric scooter share schemes Lime, Dott and Tier will all offer discounted and free rides to Londoners that qualify and apply to the scheme, in addition to grants from Transport for London (TfL).
Dan Parsons, Co-Founder at Fully Charged told Cycling Industry News (opens in new tab), “Since 2014, we at Fully Charged have had the mission to better the lives of Londoners through cleaner transport solutions for individuals, families and businesses and we welcome the expansion of the ULEZ. Working with our industry-leading e-bike and electric cargo bike suppliers, we are excited to support the TfL scrappage scheme as a way to further encourage and incentivise the transition to greener transport and better air quality to benefit all of London.”
The expanded ULEZ zone will go London-wide from August, but despite the benefits it will bring it has been met with some opposition. A public consultation found that 80 percent of people in the affected areas opposed the expansion of the zones, with the Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Elliot Colburn, saying he was "very, very angry" and described the expansion as a "disgusting move".
However, the Lord Mayor, Sadiq Khan told the BBC (opens in new tab) that, "the scheme will benefit around five million more people. The current ULEZ so far has been transformational, reducing harmful pollution levels by almost half in central London. But there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the health of Londoners and leading to thousands of early deaths, as many as 4,000 annually, with the greatest number of deaths in the outer London boroughs." And added, "The scheme is designed only to drive down the use of the most polluting vehicles and stats indicate that already 94 percent of vehicles seen driving in inner and central London, and 85 per cent of vehicles seen driving in outer London meet ULEZ standards and thus have nothing extra to pay."
With opposition and legal challenges ahead it remains far from certain that the expansion will go ahead in August. But more bikes on the road and less polluting motor vehicles means cleaner air for everyone, and can surely only be a good thing.