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Car scrappage scheme in the UK 2023: everything you need to know

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September 25, 2023
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The car scrappage scheme allows drivers with high-polluting vehicles to exchange their old petrol or diesel car for a vehicle that uses cleaner energy. In this blog, we explain everything you need to know about the scheme, including the areas it’s in place within the UK, the car dealers offering deals, and the scheme’s most recent updates following the ULEZ expansion.

What is the car scrappage scheme?

The car scrappage scheme, also known as the vehicle discount scheme or vehicle scrappage scheme, is a government incentive scheme that was first introduced in 2009. It aims to help encourage motorists to scrap or retrofit older, more polluting vehicles that they’ve owned for at least 12 months and replace them with more environmentally friendly cars, vans or motorcycles.

Manufacturers have also introduced their own scrappage schemes in order to encourage sales of eco-friendly ULEZ, CAZ and LEZ-compliant vehicles.

How does the car scrappage scheme work?

Car on driveway

How the scrappage scheme works varies between different cities and manufacturers. For instance, if you opt to use a government-funded scrappage scheme, you can generally choose any new vehicle that is compliant with the low-emission-zone standards in that area. However, if you opt to use a scheme set up by one of the manufacturers, you’ll only be able to choose a vehicle produced from that manufacturer.

How do I know if my vehicle is eligible for the scrappage scheme?

You can enter your number plate on your city’s transport or government website, which can be found below:

Your vehicle’s eligibility will generally depend on the age of the vehicle, which determines whether the vehicle will be compliant with the emission zone’s emission standards. The minimum standards are as follows. Note that these are a guide; you should check your vehicle using the government tools above.

Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)

Motorbike with moody background

Euro 3 for motorcycles started for all new registrations in 2007, so bikes manufactured after this date are likely to be compliant.

Read more about ULEZ for motorcycles in this blog. You can also find a list of the best compliant commuter bikes.

Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles

The Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol vehicles started for all new registrations from 1st January 2006, so vehicles manufactured after this date are likely to be compliant.

Euro 6 for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

The Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel vehicles started from September 2015, so vehicles registered after this date are likely to be compliant.

London’s ULEZ TfL government scrappage scheme 2023

Although the scrappage scheme stopped in 2022, it has since returned in 2023 following the ULEZ’s expansion. This has been launched to help eligible Londoners scrap polluting cars, motorcycles and wheelchair-accessible vehicles following the ULEZ expansion.

Those who are eligible could get the following payment when they scrap their vehicle:

  • Scrap a car: £2,000
  • Scrap a car: £1,600 (plus one adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Pass)
  • Scrap a car: £1,200 (plus two adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Passes)
  • Scrap a motorcycle: £1,000
  • Scrap a motorcycle: £600 (plus one adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Pass)
  • Scrap a motorcycle: £200 (plus two adult-rate Annual Bus and Tram Passes)
  • Scrap a wheelchair accessible vehicle (car or van): £10,000
  • Retrofit a wheelchair accessible vehicle (van only): £6,000

Note that some of the payments above could affect any means-tested benefits you are on. You can find out how your benefits could be affected by a lump-sum payment here.

ULEZ van scrappage scheme

London roads with taxis and vans

The ULEZ van and minibus scrappage scheme works slightly differently as it is available for eligible sole traders, micro businesses (i.e. up to 10 employees) or charities with a registered address in London. On the scheme, individuals or businesses can scrap or retrofit a van or minibus that does not meet the ULEZ emissions standard.

Successful applicants could get a payment between £5,000 and £9,500 depending on the vehicle you scrap or retrofit.

  • Scrap a van: £5,000
  • Scrap a minibus: £7,000
  • Retrofit a van: £5,000
  • Retrofit a minibus: £5,000
  • Scrap a van and replace with an electric van: £7,500
  • Scrap a minibus and replace with an electric minibus: £9,500

Scotland’s scrappage scheme

Transport Scotland has a Low Emission Zone Support Fund in place to help eligible households within 20km of LEZ cities, such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee dispose of non-compliant vehicles. The government previously also had a LEZ Retrofit Fund in place, but have since stopped the scheme.

If you scrap an eligible vehicle using the LEZ Support Fund scheme, you could get an initial grant of £2,000 for scrapping your vehicle, plus an additional £1,000 towards active and shared travel options through the Travel Better Fund. You can apply for the scheme online.

The Scottish government also recently launched a pilot scrappage scheme in low-income areas and Air Quality Management Areas in Scotland (including the Islands communities). The scheme offers cash incentives and Travel Better vouchers for households removing polluting vehicles from the road.

Eligible households can get a £2,000 cash grant for scrapping an older vehicle and up to £1,000 towards more sustainable travel options, such as a new or second-hand bike, car club membership and driving credits, or a multi-trip public transport ticket for bus or rail travel.

The scheme has been met with some criticism as, in its current form, just 300 vehicles would be eligible to be scrapped. However, pre-existing schemes such as the LEZ Support Fund and the LEZ Retrofit Fund have provided people over 3,647 grants. Overall, this provided over £8 million to help households and businesses prepare for LEZ.

Birmingham’s scrappage scheme

If you’ve got a vehicle that would be subject to the daily fee of driving in Birmingham’s CAZ and you meet the following criteria, you can apply to the city’s scrappage scheme.

  • You’ve been the registered owner or keeper of a non-compliant vehicle since the 10th September 2018
  • You earn less than £30,000 a year
  • You work at least 18 hours per week at premises within the Clean Air Zone

Successful applicants who scrap their car can receive a £2,000 grant. This can be used on a travel credit or to purchase a vehicle that meets the Clean Air Zone’s emission standards.

Bristol’s scrappage scheme

Streets of Bristol, UK

Individuals who wish to apply to Bristol’s CAZ scrappage scheme must:

  • Work in the Clean Air Zone
  • Earn less than £27,000
  • Be the registered keeper of the vehicle on the V5C vehicle log book
  • Have owned the vehicle before 5th November 2021

There are also business grants available for those working in the zone.

Eligible private car owners and businesses could get a £2,000 grant, with an option of a top-up loan of £5,000 per vehicle.

Sheffield’s scrappage scheme

Sheffield is offering financial support to eligible individuals and businesses ahead of the clean air zone’s introduction. To be eligible, individuals must:

  • Own a vehicle that you must pay to drive in a clean air zone
  • Possess a valid MOT (or Vehicle Compliance Certificate for licensed taxis) for the vehicle
  • Have owned the vehicle for 12 months at the point of application and before 12th December 2022
  • Use a UK bank account

Which car dealers are offering the scrappage scheme?

Renault parked under trees

When the scrappage scheme was first introduced in 2009, a number of manufacturers offered incentives to scrap old vehicles, including VW, Honda, Citroen, Dacia and Vauxhall. However, applications have since been closed and the only manufacturer currently offering a scrappage incentive is Renault’s New for Old scheme.

Renault’s New for Old scheme

Renault is currently offering up to £2,000 off when drivers swap their non-compliant vehicles for a new Renault model. The amount you’ll be offered depends on the vehicle you’re looking to purchase and ranges from £250 for the Clio techno TCe 90 MY22 or Captur E-Tech evolution E-Tech full hybrid 145 up to £2,000 for the Arkana r.s. line TCe 140 mild hybrid.

The scheme is available to those who have owned their non-compliant vehicle for 90 days or more and cannot be used in conjunction with other incentive schemes.

Can you get the scrappage scheme on used cars?

The scrappage scheme is only available on vehicles that are non-compliant with new low emission and clean air zone standards. By their nature, this means that older used vehicles are more likely to be affected.

Get car insurance from the experts

Whether you’ve got a beloved classic car that you’re thinking of retrofitting or you’ve swapped your polluting vehicle for a compliant one, we can get you an affordable car insurance quote. Call us on 0800 369 8590 or book a callback at a time that suits you.

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