ULEZ launches in Merton later this month. Picture: BBC
August 3, 2023
Merton Council has announced its own £1 million scrappage scheme to help residents replace cars which don’t comply with the city’s Ultra low emission zone (Ulez).
The borough is not currently covered by the zone, but will be once it expands on 29 August.
The Labour-run authority said the scheme will provide £1,000 grants “to help the poorest areas in our community that are not well connected by public transport, provided their car meets the Transport for London (TfL) scrappage criteria”.
The grants will also be available for carers in the borough, the council said.
The scheme complements City Hall’s London-wide £110m scrappage fund, launched by mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this year.
The Mayor’s scheme is open to Londoners receiving Child Benefit, or certain low income or disability benefits, as well as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and charities registered in London.
Merton said its local scheme will be open to people regardless of whether they have applied to the existing London-wide fund, the latter of which is being run by TfL.
Council leader Ross Garrod said: “We need to clean up the air we breathe and part of the solution to that is moving away from using high polluting vehicles.
“But the cost of living crisis isn’t going away, and the government is refusing to provide the support needed to help people scrap their cars – that’s why we are stepping in to provide this targeted support.”
Drivers of non-compliant vehicles who travel within the zone have to pay a daily £12.50 charge. The zone currently covers the area within the North and South Circular roads, but is expanding on 29 August to cover the whole of Greater London.
Merton’s scheme is set to launch in September – after the zone has expanded therefore – and more details on eligibility and how to apply will follow soon, the authority said.
The council’s announcement was welcomed by Mr Khan.
The Mayor said, “I praise Merton Council for launching its own scrappage fund to provide additional support to local residents, but it’s disappointing that the council is having to step in while the Government still refuse to provide any additional scrappage funding to London, even though it has done so for other cities implementing Clean Air Zones, including Birmingham, Bristol and Portsmouth.
“The reality is that over 90 per cent of the cars seen driving regularly in outer London on an average day are ULEZ compliant – so the vast majority of people in Merton will not need to pay a penny once ULEZ is expanded.”
Asked about national support for London’s scrappage scheme in June, a Government spokeswoman commented: “We have provided TfL with £6bn in funding support to keep public transport moving, as well as £2bn towards vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the rollout of clean vehicles across the country.
“More specifically, London has received almost £102m of Government funding for projects specifically targeted at helping to tackle pollution.
“Decisions on how to allocate funding to best meet the city’s transport priorities are for the Mayor of London to make.”
Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter