London, England, is pretty well known for its ultra-low emission zone program.  Road users with vehicles that do not meet ULEZ zone emission requirements must pay a £12.50 daily fee to enter the zone.  And London is so serious about emissions that it has been consistently expanding the ULEZ.  According to Transport for London, starting 25 October 2021, the ULEZ around the city will expand to create a single larger zone.

London’s ULEZ

This presents a significant problem for people whose vehicles do not meet the standards set by the city.  The current ULEZ emission standards are as follows:

  • Euro 3 (NOx) for motorcycles, mopeds, motorized tricycles, and quadricycles
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tons gross vehicle weight) and minibusses (up to and including 5 tons)
  • Other vehicles – Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans, and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tons) and minibusses (up to and including 5 tons)

Presently, if your motorcycle does not meet Euro 3 standards, you are subject to the £12.50 daily charge if you enter London’s ULEZ. So obviously, the city of London would like to entice people who own such motorcycles to get rid of them.  And they’ve come up with a program that they believe will help people switch to walking, cycling, and public transport or a cleaner vehicle.

If you are a London resident and decide to scrap your non-Euro 3 motorcycle via the program, the city will give you £1,000.  That money can go into your pocket or be used to purchase a cleaner form of transportation.

Participation requirements

To participate in the plan, the participant must live in one of the 32 London boroughs and claim some form of benefits.  In addition, you must ensure that your bike is insured, taxed, has a valid MOT, and fails to meet current ULEZ requirements.

ULEZ scrap

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Since the program’s initiation in 2019, an estimated 10,000 Londoners have participated.  The additional £5M in funding should help ensure that the program continues.  London Mayor Sadiq Kahn is fully behind the program.  While taking a jab at the national government, Kahn said:

“Despite the lack of Government support, our car and motorcycle scrappage scheme will continue to help low-income and disabled Londoners scrap their older, polluting vehicles and switch to walking, cycling and public transport or a cleaner vehicle.”

The British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) is also happy about the program.  BMF Chair Jim Freeman said:

This is good news for owners of older pre-Euro 3 but non-historic machines,” said BMF Chair Jim Freeman. “For commuters on these bikes, the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge from October 2021 will be a hammer blow. Helping them to upgrade to a compliant motorcycle or scooter is a positive step, especially for those on low incomes.”

It’s becoming clear that Governments will push their citizens towards “cleaner” forms of transport.  London’s program of charging significant fees for entrance into the city for non-compliant vehicles is one of those methods.

Cash for bikes

But, interestingly, the city is offering some form of remuneration to people who own vehicles that are not up to the Government’s requirements.  However, to participate, you have to be someone with a low income.  While that may be helpful for people who qualify, what about the people who don’t?

Would it be better if the National Government made it available to all owners of vehicles that did not meet the program’s emission requirements?  Would that be a much more significant incentive to a larger population of people to turn in their non-compliant machines and use some other form of “cleaner” transport (i.e., walking, cycling, public transport, or a cleaner vehicle)?

What do you think?  If the Government offered everyone £1,000 (~$1,400) for their non-compliant vehicles, would a significant number of people turn their vehicles in?

What about you?

What about you personally?  Would you participate in a program that gave you cash for turning in a vehicle that doesn’t meet the emission requirements of the London program? For example, would £1,000 (~$1,400) be enough money, or would you need more to participate?  If the amount London offers isn’t enough, how much would it take for you to turn in your motorcycle?

As Governments push us to turn to “cleaner” forms of transportation, the time may come when no internal combustion engine-powered machines are allowed on our roads.  With the passage of time, the ability to participate in programs like the one in effect in London will likely dwindle.

So what do you think about London’s ULEZ and its scrappage program?  Would you participate in a similar program?  Let us know in the comments below.


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