Ulez leaves retired tradesmen paying thousands as Sadiq Khan refuses grant

A van passes through the start of the Congestion Charge Zone

A van passes through the start of the Congestion Charge Zone

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 13/09/2023

- 12:18

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) was expanded to cover London's outer boroughs on August 29

Retired tradespeople who rely on their old work vans for transport have been told they will miss out on Sadiq Khan's Ulez scrappage schemes.

Non-compliant cars, motorcycles and wheelchair-accessible vehicles can fetch owners up to £2,000.

Businesses giving up vans or mini-buses can claim up to £11,500.

Eligible businesses are able to cash in on up to three vehicles or opt for a £6,000 grant to retrofit vans.

A Ulez signAn image of a Ulez sign in LondonPA

However, motorists using vans as personal vehicles cannot take advantage of the scheme.

Former plasterer James Cole, 73, who kept his 21-year-old Mercedes van, voiced his concern about not being able to use the scrappage scheme.

Transport for London (TfL) reportedly did not get back to Cole when he applied at the beginning of August with the help of a friend.

Cole, who has undergone two hip replacements, struggles to walk to his nearby bus stop to get to hospital appointments.

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan pushed ahead with ULEZ expansion into the capital


Retired tradesmen often keep hold of their vans after spending years paying off expensive financing deals.

Laura Timm, London policy chair at the federation of Small Businesses said: “This is an example of what can happen when business owners are not given enough time to prepare for big changes.”

She added: “Unfortunately, some have been caught out as they appear to fall between schemes and are not eligible for either.”

Former Transport Minister Theresa Villiers argued the scrappage schemes were flawed.

Theresa Villiers MP speaking to the media on College Green

Theresa Villiers MP speaking to the media on College Green


The Chipping Barnet MP said: “Nowhere near makes up for the problems caused by Ulez expansion in the suburbs.”

She added: “Retired people still reliant on the vans they drove for work are not the only people who miss out.

"No one outside of London qualifies at all, even if their jobs mean that they have to come into the capital.”

A TfL spokesman revealed the corporation is working to accept or decline scrappage scheme applications within 10 days.

He said: “The Mayor continues to call on the Government to fund a targeted national scrappage scheme or provide additional funding to London as it has done for other cities implementing Clean Air Zones, including Birmingham, Bristol and Portsmouth.”

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