The mayor of London has announced that a new funding package will be launched later this year to help HGV operators upgrade to less polluting vehicles.

Details are still being finalised, but it is expected it will be in the form of a grant of around £15,000 for each polluting lorry, up to a maximum of three vehicles.

In addition, the current van scrappage scheme grant will be doubled: operators will now receive £7,000 towards buying a cleaner van, with £9,500 available for those opting for electric vehicles.

It will also be opened up to van operators with 50 or fewer employees, whereas previously only those defined as ‘micro businesses’ with fewer than 10 staff were eligible.

A further £1.75m in London economic action partnership funding is also being made available to support six more business-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods.

These schemes will be trialling new initiatives and technology to improve air quality in pollution hotspots across the capital.

Included in the projects is a rollout of intelligent kerbside management and virtual loading bay technology with the ability to prioritise ultra-low-emission vehicles; micro consolidation schemes; zero-emission freight trials; and upgraded recharging infrastructure.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Our dirty air is a national health crisis that contributes to thousands of premature deaths ever year. While bold action such as our Ultra Low Emission Zone is starting to make a difference in London, I want to ensure there is help for businesses making the switch to cleaner greener vehicles – whether you rely on a van, lorry or coach.

“While we’re doing all we can in the capital, we now need the Government to match our levels of ambition and fund a national scrappage scheme that supports all those small businesses who want to do the right thing and switch to cleaner vehicles across the UK.”

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of South of England and urban policy, welcomed the scheme ahead of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in the capital: “Businesses within the logistics sector are determined to play their part in improving London’s air quality, but many simply do not have the resources to replace their existing fleets to meet the new, required emission standards; this scheme will help to ease the heavy financial burden.

“In addition to doubling payments for van scrappage and expanding the criteria for support, we are pleased to see TfL is developing a funding programme for HGVs; we look forward to seeing the details of this emerge in the coming months.”