London charities offered grants to replace old, polluting vehicles

Charities in London are being offered the chance to have their old, polluting vehicles either replaced or retrofitted through a £110m scrappage scheme.

The move comes as the capital’s ultra-low emission zone is to be expanded from inner and central locations in the city to all London boroughs from August 29.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is making the £110m scrappage scheme available to charities, people on low incomes and with disabilities as well as sole traders and small firms.

Four out of five vehicles in outer London are already compliant and will not need to pay a charge through the scheme.

“The new scrappage scheme and grace periods will help drivers of the remaining non-compliant vehicles prepare,” said the Mayor’s office.

Charities can apply for grants of up to £9,500 through the scheme. This includes a £5,000 grant to replace a van and £7,000 to replace a minibus.

“I’d like to urge charities across London to take advantage of the Mayor’s biggest ever scrappage scheme,” said Debbie Weekes-Bernard, London’s deputy mayor for communities and social justice.

“Sadiq is taking important action to expand the ultra-low emission zone to clean-up the capital’s toxic air for the benefit of millions of Londoners, and charities are being given support to take any of their most polluting vehicles off our roads.

“There are also new and extended exemptions for people with disabilities, wheelchair accessible vehicles and not-for-profit organisations with community transport minibuses. We all deserve to live and work in clean air, and by taking this essential action we can build a healthier, greener London for all.”

Among London based charities to have already received funding to replace old vehicles is Friend in Need, which supports older people.

“We have an activity centre open two days a week and we use our buses to pick them up and take home,” said he charity’s coordinator Rebecca Dickinson.

“For a lot of them, it’s the only opportunity they have to get out of house – they join us for activities, games and a home-cooked meal.

“We have two minibuses and the scrappage scheme allowed us to replace the older bus with a newer one, which is a lot more economical and unlike the old one, can be driven by anyone with a regular driving licence.

“It has been a godsend and has allowed us to expand our services, for instance offering escorted shopping. It’s something that NGOs with affected vehicles should take a look at.”

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