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Mayor plans to rid high-polluting vans from London

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Staff Writer |
London pollution
Britain   Diesel vans which do not meet the latest Euro 6 standard

The Mayor of London has announced a bold new £23 million scrappage scheme to help tackle London’s air quality crisis and support micro-businesses to prepare for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The scheme will initially help London’s micro-businesses – defined as those with fewer than 10 employees – to switch to the cleanest vehicles, including electric.

It is planned to be in place ahead of the introduction of London’s new central London ULEZ, which from 8 April 2019 will bring in charges for vehicles which do not meet stricter emission standards that apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Diesel vans which do not meet the latest Euro 6 standard will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London.

The move is the latest step in Sadiq’s drive to tackle air pollution in the capital. Across the country, toxic air leads to 40,000 premature deaths annually, and increases the risk of asthma, cancer, dementia – imposing a financial burden of £20 billion on the economy every year.

Under the City Hall scheme, funding would be available to scrap vans that do not comply with the new ULEZ standards, but which are driven into the ULEZ zone regularly, helping thousands of micro-business owners update their vehicles.

The Mayor has asked officials and TfL to work out how the money could be spent most effectively, and further details of the scheme will be available next year.

As well as announcing his own City Hall fund, Sadiq is urging the Government to match his ambition and leadership.

The Mayor has asked ministers to match-fund London’s proposed scrappage scheme with £23 million of Government money, funded either from the £245 million National Clean Air Fund or from underspend on Highways England’s £75 million air quality fund.

Londoners pay hundreds of millions of pounds in Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED) every year which support these funds but, shamefully, a negligible amount of this money is then spent in London.

If the Government stepped up and matched the Mayor’s funding, it would enable City Hall to put in place further scrappage support for other Londoners, including those on low incomes, and charity vehicles. It would also give ministers the evidence they need to judge scrappage proposals from other cities, and demonstrate the transformational benefits of a truly national scrappage fund.

It would also help improve air quality in the capital, where it is estimated half the roads in the UK that exceed legal limits are located. This will rise to 97 per cent by 2021 as other cities implement and benefit from Government funding for their Clean Air Zones.

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