News

Concern over Ulez scrappage scheme rejection letters

An assembly member has voiced concern over the £160m scrappage scheme designed to provide grants to owners of non-compliant vehicles, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

City Hall and (inset) Caroline Pidgeon
City Hall and (inset) Caroline Pidgeon

Londoners refused for grants under the Ulez scrappage scheme are receiving “template” rejection letters which don’t explain why they have been turned down for funding, a City Hall politician has said.

The £160m scrappage scheme is meant to provide grants to owners of non-compliant vehicles, to help replace them with cleaner models.

Older vehicles that do not meet emissions standards incur a £12.50-a-day charge if they are driven in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), which expanded to cover the whole of London in August.

Under the scrappage scheme, payments of £2,000 are available for cars and £1,000 for motorbikes – with larger sums on offer for vans and minibuses.

But London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has raised concerns that Transport for London (TfL), who oversee the scheme, is failing to explain in all cases why applicants have been rejected for funds.

Pidgeon, the assembly’s Liberal Democrat group leader, said “numerous constituents” had been in touch with her to complain about the lack of detail in their rejection letters and that clarity is only given if they call TfL’s help centre.

In a written question to mayor Sadiq Khan, she asked him to “ensure that the process is reviewed and that caseworkers are specifying the precise information to help residents to understand any issues related to their application”.

Responding, the mayor’s office said that TfL “endeavours to make rejection letters as clear as possible”.

They added: “Where applicable, the rejection letter will also include advice about the evidence needed to support a new application.

“TfL continuously reviews customer feedback as well as the quality of responses and through this process will identify any delivery improvements to areas such as rejections.”

Pidgeon told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the issue is “the latest in the long line of problems with the mayor’s botched Ulez expansion process, with constituents also complaining that the forms for the application to the scrappage scheme are complicated and the requirements are difficult to understand”.

She said: “The mayor must get to grips with these issues as an absolute priority. It is unfair in a cost of living crisis that people are missing out on vital financial assistance as a result of bureaucratic problems.”

The scrappage scheme was initially only open to Londoners in receipt of certain benefits, as well as small businesses and charities registered in the capital. In August, the scheme was expanded to include every single Londoner with a non-compliant vehicle, and was increased from a pot of £110m to £160m. As of late October, about £38.6m of the fund was still to be allocated.

It was also revealed at the end of last month that 95.3% of vehicles seen driving on an average day in London are now compliant – up from 91.6% in June. This was higher for cars – 96.4% of which are now not liable for the Ulez levy – but lower for vans at 86.2%, though this was up from 80.2% in June.


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