The Mayor of London has this week launched its heavy vehicle scrappage scheme, ahead of the 1 March 2021 tightening of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) to Euro-6 standards across the capital.

It is designed to support smaller businesses with 50 or fewer employees and charities in meeting new emissions standards.

The scheme offers grants of £15,000 to scrap a heavy vehicle (exceeding 3.5 tonnes) and replace it with a compliant vehicle, or to retrofit diesel vehicles up to Euro-6 standards.

More than 100 organisations have already pre-registered interest in the scheme, which will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Operators are encouraged to apply early for a greater chance to benefit from the grants as funding is limited, “once it’s gone, it’s gone,” according to the announcement from the mayor's office.

The heavy vehicle scrappage scheme follows TfL’s van scrappage scheme, which ran for 18 months and supported the removal of 5,000 polluting vehicles from London’s roads.

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said: “The Ultra Low Emission Zone has already cut toxic air by more than a third and with tighter Low Emission Zone standards due to come in next year we want to ensure there is help for businesses and charities switching coaches or lorries to cleaner greener vehicles.

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

The strengthening of London’s LEZ to Euro-6 emission standards was originally due to come into force in October 2020, but was deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a review, it will now come into force on 1 March, alongside enforcement activity for London’s Direct Vision Standard.

Logistics UK has called on the mayor to give industry more time to prepare their fleets, given the immense financial and operational pressures facing operators at this time.

“Logistics UK does however welcome the launch of the HGV scrappage scheme which will aide small businesses, within the Greater London area, to upgrade their vehicles in order to comply with the tightening of the emissions standards for the LEZ,” said Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK’s head of urban policy.