London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling on the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, which could see 70,000 Euro-5 diesel vans and minibuses removed from London’s roads.

The mayor sets out his proposals this week in a report Proposal for a National Scrappage Scheme, which suggests such a scheme could be applied to cities across the UK.

The report uses London as an example city scheme and estimates the scheme would cost up to £515m in the capital over a two year period.

The key recommendations include:

  • Payments of £3,500 to scrap up to 70,000 Euro-5 vans and minibuses in London and a national fund to support charities and small businesses that often own older diesel vehicles. This fund would be around £245m, allowing small businesses and charities to buy or lease compliant vehicles;
  •  A credit scheme valued at £2,000 to help low-income households scrap up to 130,000 polluting cars, with incentives for car clubs;
  • Payments of £1,000 to help scrap up to 10,000 older purpose built taxis in London.

The report also recommends the government consider linking scrappage payments to plug-in van grants and gives “additional incentives” to encourage fleet businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles and to trial or increase the number of new, cleaner vehicles used in city centres.

A nationwide scheme would also help the UK meet its legal obligations on European pollution limits, incentivise diesel drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles, and improve the health of the nation, the report argues.

It added that such a move if adopted would do away the cost of introducing the Ultra Low Emission Zone and reduce NOx emissions in London by 40%.

Khan said: “For years government has incentivised and encouraged people to purchase diesel cars. It is only fair that they now helps people to switch to cleaner alternatives. The government needs to help us clean up the dangerous air in London."

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental Leasing Association, said the proposed fund “could make a significant contribution in reducing emissions by removing some of the oldest, most polluting vans and cars from our streets.

"There are some urban journeys or tasks that require a car or van, but those vehicles should be clean, safe and modern and should be used efficiently.”