Scrappage Schemes in the UK

As Britain is constantly striving to make its roads a safer, cleaner place, you may have noticed Clean Air Zones popping up in cities around the country. These zones are intended to remove some of the highest polluting vehicles from the roads, and various councils, governments and even car manufacturers are trying to make this transition as easy as possible for drivers across the UK. National Scrap Car takes you through the different types of car scrappage schemes currently available.

The Good News

✅ Scrappage schemes do exist, either linked to your car manufacturer or where you live

✅ These scrappage schemes will contribute varying amounts to the purchase of a new car

✅ Newer cars are likely to be more fuel efficient and compliant with emission regulations

✅ Better air quality is linked with better health outcomes, particularly in urban areas

The Bad News

❌ Not many manufacturers offer a scrappage scheme and only new car purchases, usually on certain models, are eligible

❌ Though you will get a contribution to a new car purchase, you will need to make up the outstanding difference. Manufacturer contributions aren’t typically eligible for any leasing options e.g. PCP

❌ More cities are introducing clean air zones and charging drivers of older and more polluting cars

❌ Manufacturers can take your car and potentially make a profit on reselling it

Our advice is that if you’re eligible for a scrappage scheme then definitely consider this option. A substantial contribution to a new car is the best option for some people. But if you’re not eligible or don’t meet the criteria for the limited scrappage schemes that exist, then getting then scrapping your car for the best possible price is the next best alternative. In fact salvaging your car can get you more money for your end of life vehicle.

Find a scrappage scheme for your car or van

Scrappage Schemes by Car Make

When car manufacturers offer scrappage schemes these days it’s often just a trade-in special offer that is disguised under the scrappage scheme banner. In the past brands such as Renault, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Mazda and Volkswagen (plus many more) have all run their own scrappage incentives following the success of the 2009 scheme. Once central government support ended, unfortunately so did scrappage schemes.

Tesla Scrappage Scheme

Looking to improve your green credentials? There is a new scrappage scheme in 2023 from electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla. Cars valued at £2,000 or under are able to be traded in as part of this scheme and the customer will receive an additional £2,000 discount on a new Tesla, meaning prices can be dropped between £2,000 and £4,000 on the list price. The Tesla Model 3 or Y are included as part of the trade in offer.

Tesla badge close up

Audi Scrappage Scheme

Popular German manufacturer Audi is currently holding a ‘Make the Switch’ special offer for its electric range of vehicles, known as ‘e-tron’. While not a scrappage scheme in the traditional sense, trade-ins are welcome and can be used in conjunction with the existing scrappage scheme for London’s ULEZ to increase savings up to a maximum of £13,000.

Scrappage Schemes by Location

London’s ULEZ Scrappage Scheme

A scrappage scheme has been launched by the Mayor of London to help eligible Londoners prepare for the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) at the end of August 2023. Those living within one of the 32 London Boroughs or the City of London and receiving benefits may apply to scrap cars, motorcycles or wheelchair accessible vehicles. In return, customers can receive up to £2,000 for a car or £1,000 for a motorcycle. Alternatively, they can choose to receive one or two adult-rate Annual Bus & Tram Passes in return for a lower cash amount – although the value of this option is higher in total.

How to Apply to the London ULEZ Scheme

In order to apply for a grant from the London ULEZ scheme, you will need to have a London Road User Charging (RUC) account – this is used for ULEZ or Congestion Charge payments. You will need to provide proof that both you and your vehicle are eligible for the scheme, and this will include photo ID and your most recent benefits award letter or your full Universal Credit service statement. You may also need to provide proof of address (either through a driving licence or utility bill). For your vehicle you will need to provide your V5C Log Book and a valid insurance certificate.

If your application is approved, you will then need to scrap your vehicle at an Authorised Treatment Facility, who will issue you with a Certificate of Destruction. In some cases, you could receive an additional payment from the ATF for your car up to its scrap value, which is totally separate and unrelated to the TfL grant payment. You will not receive your TfL grant payment cheque until you have provided evidence that the car has been scrapped.

Is There a Government Scrappage Scheme for Non-London Residents?

While the national scheme first implemented in 2009 no longer exists, a number of smaller, local schemes are still in effect. These are city specific, and each come with their own set of criteria that must be met before any grants are provided. 

Schemes are currently in place in the following cities:

  • Bath – for owners of vehicles that enter the Clean Air Zone twice a week and have lived at their current address and owned their vehicle since April 2020
  • Birmingham – for drivers who earn less than £30,000 a year, live outside of the Clean Air Zone but work at least 18 hours a week within it, and have been registered keepers of a non-compliant vehicle since September 2018
  • Bradford – for taxi, LGV and minibus drivers only, on a first-come first-served basis, and providing their business is located within Bradford’s Metropolitan District
  • Scotland – for drivers who live within 20km of a Scottish Low Emission Zone, have owned a (fully taxed and MOT’d) non-compliant vehicle and claim benefits

Other schemes are often offered by car manufacturers, with set trade-in prices offered in return for a discount on brand new cars. 

Your Scrap Options

If your car is non-compliant with Clean Air Zones that are appearing up and down the country, but you do not qualify for any scrappage schemes, then let National Scrap Car help you out. While we can’t help you get a discount on a new car, we can guarantee you the very best price for your old polluter, and unlike many schemes, you will not be tied to any restrictions with what you can do with that money.

Once it lands in your account, every penny is yours to do with as you wish, meaning you can put it towards a second hand car instead of something brand new – or even not a car at all and simply pocket the cash! Get started today and find out just how much your old car could be worth.

National Scrap Car van buyers network

National Scrap Car offers scrap and salvage services for every make and model or car and van throughout the UK.

We have a network of reputable scrap yards and car buyers who bid for your end of life vehicle. We pay top prices for any car or van and collect your vehicle for free from your driveway, local garage or any other location.

Find out more

  Scrap Car Prices

  Scrap Car Collection

  Scrap Yards and ATFs

  UK Coverage

  Selling a Damaged Car

  Car Recycling

Scrappage Scheme FAQs

How Does a Scrappage Scheme Work?

Scrappage schemes are incentives employed by certain parties to entice you to remove your old, more polluting vehicles from the road in favour of something more environmentally friendly. The details of each scheme will differ from location to location, or manufacturer to manufacturer. They usually work by a set figure being given to you in return for the scrapping of your old car, with that figure usually then needing to be used to put towards a new car, or for a reduced fee and a transport pass, encouraging more public transport usage.

There has not been a national UK scrappage scheme since the Spring of 2010, and today most scrappage schemes are either disguised trade-in special offers from manufacturers or location-based schemes from individual cities. As a result there are usually specific criteria that you must meet before qualifying for a grant, such as where you live, work or even how much money you earn – as well as obvious criteria surrounding the car you intend to trade-in.

close up of car exhaust

Why do scrappage schemes exist?

These schemes largely exist as part of the UK’s mission that by 2050 we’ll have net zero emissions. It was only in 2019 that the UK bound itself to this target and scrappage schemes help take older more polluting cars off the roads and replace them with electric, hybrid or at the very least a less polluting car.

Some scrappage schemes have had support from central government whereas regional ones, like London’s ULEZ scheme, is funded by Transport for London (TFL). Typically these regional schemes have a pot of money available on a first come first served basis, so when it’s gone it’s gone.

Is There a Diesel Scrappage Scheme?

Unlike previous UK scrappage schemes which were put in place to remove the higher polluting vehicles, with many scrappage schemes in the mid-2010s specifically aimed to take diesels off the road in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, there is currently no specific diesel scheme. However, some diesel cars can be traded in as part of the ULEZ scheme.