UK diesel car scrappage scheme: everything you need to know

Everything you need to know about the diesel car scrappage scheme...

If you’ve been keeping up to date with the news recently you’ll see that in amongst Donald Trump and North Korea, the Snap Election and Brexit, there has been quite a bit of news surrounding diesel cars.

There is no official announcement just yet. But it is thought that next week the government will announce confirming that owners of older diesel cars and vans will receive money from the government. This will reduce the number of old diesel cars on the roads in the UK. It should be noted here that this is a developing story, and is changing day by day. Therefore, all information is correct as of 24th April 2017.

What is the diesel car scrappage scheme?

This scheme is part of a wider government plan to reduce the number of polluting cars on British roads. It is thought that this cash incentive will encourage owners of older diesel-powered cars and trade them in. They will trade them for newer, lower-emission vehicles. It’s part of plan to lower air pollution.

Recent studies show that nearly 40 million people in the UK live in areas with illegal air pollution levels. Check out this air pollution map to give you a good idea on the amount of air pollution you are exposed to in your area of the UK.

UK Diesel Car Scrappage Scheme

Wasn’t there another diesel car scrappage scheme a few years ago?

This isn’t the first car scrappage scheme introduced by a government. A similar scheme was introduced in 2009. Drivers were offered up to £1,000 to get rid of their ageing vehicles. Nearly 400,000 heavily polluting cars were taken off the road as a result.

It is estimated that air pollution contributes to more than 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. The main culprits are the old diesel cars. They emit huge quantities of nitrogen oxide. Heart disease, strokes and cancer are all caused by those very chemicals. So London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made them his prime target to tackle air pollution.

But, aren’t diesel cars better for the environment?

UK Diesel Car Scrappage Scheme

Now, you might remember that in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the government encouraged us to buy those very cars. This is because typically, these diesel cars emit a lower amount of carbon dioxide. One of the main causes of global warming is carbon dioxide.

However, they were not testing for nitrogen oxide or the other chemicals that create air pollution. Although diesel cars were thought to be better for the environment, and in turn our health, this wasn’t actually the case. Instead, they were worse for the environment and for our health than originally thought. And, with reports about the amount of air pollution in the UK hitting the headlines, the government are under pressure to do something about it.

Despite the high cost of this scheme, it is thought that the government will go ahead with the initiative. 

The scheme was going to be announced this week (allegedly). But the government are being accused of delaying the process until after the snap election. The draft measures to tackle illegal air pollution were supposed to be published on Monday (24th April). On the previous Friday, however, ministers have applied to breach the deadline to ‘comply with pre-election propriety rules’, according to The Guardian.

The government applied to publish a draft on June 30th. A full policy will be published in September. This is according to Andrea Leadsom, the environment secretary, who was questioned in parliament today.

The diesel car scrappage scheme will still be included. There may also be a hike in vehicle excise duty for diesel vehicles and possible congestion charging zones in some cities. As we said at the start of this article, this is a developing story and we are providing you with the information available to us as of 24th April 2017.

Which cars will be effected by the car scrappage scheme?

The scheme will target the oldest diesel vehicles. They are the ones that are the most polluting. Any diesel car or van that is older than 10 years old is likely to be eligible for the car scrappage scheme. The exemptions will be more modern vehicles.

It is also believed that this scheme will only apply to the 10 most polluted cities in the UK. These cities include cities such as Glasgow, Leeds, London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Port Talbot. Should the scheme be a success, it could be rolled out across the UK.

UK Diesel Car Scrappage Scheme

How much will I get for my old diesel car?

How much you will get for your old car is yet to be said. But it is expected that you could receive up to £2,000. However, don’t think you can use that money to go on holiday. We understand that the money will be put towards a new, low-emission vehicle. For example, a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric car. You will also receive the normal government incentives for these cars. For example, receiving up to £4,500 from the government towards an electric car, and up to £2,500 for a hybrid.

As we mentioned above, this is a developing story. Anything speculated or reported may not come to fruition. We do know, however, that the government are under pressure to do something to tackle the illegal levels of air pollution. So, while nothing is official as yet, we can still expect there to be something in the near future to help combat air pollution. And we’re sure it will start with old diesel vehicles.

What do you think? Do you think the car scrappage scheme will be a good idea? Or do you think the government should combat air pollution in a different way? Share your thoughts below! To read more about electric cars, you can do so here. Alternatively, you can read our article on plugin-hybrids here.

Is an electric car worth it? Click here to read our verdict
Rachel Richardson


  • Chris| 9th May 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply

    Mmmmmm, good idea. I will scrap my £20.000 RRS and collect the £2000 tomorrow and still not be able to afford a Hybrid or Electric car. Brilliant idea On the other hand, if the government gives me £20.000 I will definitely swap cars. Polititions are so thick sometimes. My car is over 10 years old and worth a lot more than £2000. Are they trying to bankrupt people. That’s a good way of collecting taxes to keep the country running!!!!!!

  • Cliff| 8th May 2017 at 4:21 pm Reply

    As an OAP, my new car buying days are over. I do not have anything like a decent income to get a car loan or indeed be able to afford monthly payments. I own (outright) a diesel Jag, I have always had jags since 1965 but had to give them up and drop down to Vauxhalls and the liked due to the cost of petrol consumption, until I found my diesel Jag, and as advised by authorities, bought the very economical car that would or should last me all my life after 61 years of motoring. Now it looks like the Government will force me into a situation of no car in my twilight years where I need a car more than ever, virtually unable to walk to nearest shops or the nearest bus stop, some 600 metres away, or being unable to visit my immediate family all now living hundreds of miles away.

    • Abbie Rawcliffe| 10th May 2017 at 5:04 pm Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Cliff. There is no certainty that this is going to happen as it is at the proposal stage. We would expect this to be a number of years before anything changes if it does at all. However if in the future you are forced to change your beautiful diesel Jaguar, we have paired up with the MASIS charity to assist individuals who need their vehicle for mobility.

  • martin jones| 3rd May 2017 at 9:29 am Reply

    hmmm , what good is 2000 pounds to me , when it has to be spent on a hybrid car or similar , which is way beyond what I could afford to buy , once again the low income household will come out far worse off .

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