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In essence, a ‘vehicle scrappage scheme’ involves some sort of incentive for a vehicle owner to scrap their vehicle – either by trading it in for a new one or for some other sort of benefit (e.g. free travel on public transport).

There was one scrappage scheme in the UK in 2009, designed to help the motor industry through the recession which followed the financial crash. It essentially gave vehicle owners £2,000 (co-funded by the Government and the car industry) if they scrapped their old vehicle and bought a new one. There were eligibility criteria associated and specifications as to what sort of new vehicle must be purchased. Almost 400,000 claims were submitted under the scheme.

The issue then died away until 2015, when a combination of factors involving air quality standards, diesel emissions and emissions cheating came to light, providing a ‘perfect storm’ for renewed interest in getting older, polluting vehicles off the road. There have been a number of different suggestions put forward for a scrappage scheme, targeted at older, diesel-powered vehicles, but the Government has to date remained cool on the idea. The motor industry has instead launched a slew of schemes, there are over 20 available to consumers at present.

Most recently, the Government issued a consultation in November 2017 seeking views on additional measures to support individuals and businesses affected by local NO2 plans, including targeted scrappage schemes.

Further information on road transport issues can be found on the Roads briefings page of the Parliament website.

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