TfL gives details of coach and bus scrappage and retrofit fund

Transport for London (TfL) has announced details of its scrappage and retrofit scheme to help smaller coach and bus operators to upgrade and replace vehicles to achieve Euro VI compliance.

Up to £15,000 per vehicle will be payable to eligible small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, sole traders and charities. Each of those organisations can apply for funding to cover up to three vehicles and the funding will be shared with other commercial vehicle types.

The money can go towards Euro VI retrofit or as a scrappage grant. It is aimed at helping applicants to comply with the capital’s more stringent Low Emission Zone standards. They will be introduced on 1 March 2021 and require Euro VI of coaches and buses if a daily charge is to be avoided.

TfL coach and bus retrofit and scrappage scheme: The conditions

To be eligible for the scheme, the organisation applying should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Hold a valid O-Licence with an operating centre within the Greater London area
  • Hold a London service permit
  • Be registered within the Greater London area (charities).

The TfL scrappage and retrofit scheme for coach and bus fleets is also open to vehicles that are owned by organisations that do not satisfy the above. To be eligible, they must have been driven within the Greater London area at least 26 times between 28 March and 28 September. Evidence, such as tracking data, will be required to prove that those journeys took place.

The money is payable against coaches, buses and minibuses with a GVW exceeding 5,000kg. They must have been owned by the organisation concerned for more than 12 calendar months before the scheme started on 28 September 2020.

Where funds are being sourced for retrofit, the vehicle model must be listed on the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) website. The conversion work must be undertaken by a CVRAS-approved supplier.

Vehicles that the operator intends to scrap under the scheme must be taxed and hold a valid MoT. They will be surrendered for “secure scrapping” at either Charlton or Perivale Metropolitan Police pounds. The vehicle in question must also fail to meet Euro VI standards.

The replacement vehicle for the one being scrapped must satisfy Euro VI and be purchased, or be on a hire or lease contract that is at least two years long.

Specific guidance for operators that wish to scrap a vehicle that carries a cherished registration mark is contained on TfL’s website. Comprehensive terms and conditions and an application form for the scheme can also be found there.

TfL says that more than 100 organisations have already pre-registered their interest. Money will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

CPT welcomes scheme – but industry is ‘already among the cleanest’

The Confederation of Passenger Transport has welcomed the announcement. But Chief Executive Graham Vidler has pointed out that coaches and buses are already among the cleanest vehicles on the roads. However, the financial barriers associated with upgrading or replacing them often acts as a barrier to doing so, he adds.

“Despite the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, operators retain ambitions to further ‘green’ their fleets. This welcome funding will help many small businesses, where possible, to do so.”

When Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced in January 2020 that money for scrappage and retrofit would be made available to eligible coach and bus operators, he called on the government to deliver a similar national scrappage scheme.