Scrappage scheme: latest manufacturer and local authority deals
If you have an older car and you're looking to trade it in for a newer model, you might qualify for a scrappage scheme discount...
An estimated one million cars are scrapped in the UK each year, but owners looking to replace older, more polluting cars with greener ones may be able to get a saving of up to £3000 by trading their car in through a scrappage scheme. Van buyers can benefit from even bigger discounts of up to £9000.
To qualify for the schemes, the car you're trading in must be one that would have to pay the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, regional Clean Air Zone or Scottish Low Emission Zone charge. That means it doesn't comply with the Euro 4 emissions standards if it's a petrol, or Euro 6 if it's a diesel. Generally speaking, this means most diesels registered before September 2015 and petrols sold before January 2006.
European standards set the emissions limits for new cars – the first, Euro 1, was introduced in 1992. You can check the Euro emissions standard of your car here.
The capital's scrappage scheme
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan introduced a £110 million car scrappage scheme in January 2023, providing a discount of £2000 off a new or low-emission used car to help low-income motorists to switch to less polluting cars and avoid having to pay the £12.50 daily charge when the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanded in August 2023.
Eligible scrappage cars are petrol ones first registered before 2006 and diesel cars first registered before September 2015.
Discounts of up to £1000 are available for motorcycles, up to £5000 for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and between £5000 and £9500 for eligible vans and minibuses.
The pay-outs don't have to be used exclusively for buying a newer car, there’s also the option to receive a lower figure towards a car and get one or two free annual travel passes to enable you to use public transport instead.
In order to qualify for the scrappage discount you need to be a London resident who is in receipt of certain low-income or disability benefits, such as Universal Credit or Attendance Allowance.
It's estimated that around 160,000 cars will incur the ULEZ charge when the zone is increased to encompass most of the area inside the M25 motorway. The daily fee for driving a pre-Euro 3 petrol car or a pre-Euro 6 diesel equates to £87.50 a week – or £4550 a year.
Regional scrappage schemes
Birmingham scrappage scheme
Birmingham City Council launched a £10m vehicle scrappage and travel credit scheme in April 2021 shortly before its Clean Air Zone went live.
It offers people who work within the zone £2000 to if they scrap a vehicle that would otherwise be subject to the daily fee, providing that they earn less than £30,000 per annum.
The money can either be used towards the cost of a replacement car that meets the required emissions standards, or on a travel credit that can be used on buses, trains and the Birmingham Metro tram network.
The scheme is being operated in association with used car retailer, Motorpoint, which will arrange for the non-compliant vehicles to be scrapped in favour of a replacement car.
Bristol scrappage scheme
A scrappage scheme was launched in this region in 2022, ahead of the enforcement of its Clean Air Zone.
It offers up to £2000 to car owners who work and travel into the area regularly, providing they earn £27,000 or less. The money can only be used to either adapt or replace a vehicle that doesn’t meet the emission zone standards.
There are larger payments of £4500 for vans, and £16,000 for coaches and HGVs.
Interest in the scheme has been high, and the Bristol Council website states that although people can still apply for financial assistance with replacing a vehicle, it is not guaranteed that they will get funding.
Scotland’s scrappage scheme
The Scottish Government launched the Mobility and Scrappage Fund in February 2023, offering cash incentives and travel vouchers to households that remove more polluting cars from the roads.
The £900,000 scheme is being piloted in lower income areas and in designated Air Quality Management Areas in Scotland.
The fund is being delivered by the Energy Saving Trust and provides cash grants of £2000 to people who dispose of more polluting vehicles. It also offers up to two £500 Travel Better grants that can be used to purchase a range of sustainable travel options, including bikes, e-bikes or public transport vouchers.
Scotland has also offered a Low Emission Zone Support scheme, providing grants of £3000 to people working and living in its four Low Emission Zones in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, this scheme is currently closed.
Car maker scrappage schemes
Renault is the only car maker that is currently offering a scrappage discount to new car buyers who trade in an older, more polluting car.
If you're after a new Renault, you could get up to £3000 off with the French brand's New for Old scrappage scheme. To be eligible, you need to have owned your trade-in car for at least 90 days. Cars need to be ordered and registered by 30 June 2023.
The following discounts are available on Renault cars:
Renault Clio techno TCe 90 MY22 – £250
Renault Clio r.s. Line TCe 90 MY22 – £500
Renault Captur evolution TCe 90 – £750
Renault Captur other TCe 90 models – £1000
Renault Captur evolution E-Tech full hybrid 145 – £250
Renault Captur other E-Tech full hybrid 145 models – £500
Renault Captur E-Tech engineered full hybrid 145 – £750
Renault Captur techno E-Tech plug-in hybrid 160 – £1000
Renault Captur E-Tech engineered plug-in hybrid 160 – £1250
Renault Arkana evolution mild hybrid 140 – £1400
Renault Arkana other mild hybrid 140 models – £1600
Renault Arkana evolution E-Tech hybrid 145 – £1400
Renault Arkana other E-Tech hybrid 145 models – £1600
The following discounts are available on Renault vans (prices exclude VAT):
Renault Master SWB - £7950
Renault Master MWB - £9000
Renault Master LWB - £9500
Renault Traffic - £6500
Renault Kangoo ZE - £4750
Renault Kangoo - £4100
Renault Zoe van - £2250
How to get the best deal for your car
These trade-in offers can look tempting, especially if you currently own an older diesel car, but it's still important to check what other deals and offers are available. Many of the car makers offering the schemes mentioned above are also offering regular discounts on top of their trade-in incentives, so it's worth haggling in the dealership.
The What Car? Target Price is the most we think you should pay for a new car. It can often net you more than £2000 in savings, so check what this is for your desired model before you buy. Don't forget that you can buy a new car using the free What Car? New Car Buying service, which has deals on thousands of new cars that are being offered at Target Price or less. We also offer advice on how to get the best price for your car.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Read more: The best electric cars >>
Best electric SUVs 2023
Thanks to big advancements in battery and charging technology, the best electric SUVs are now as usable as they are desirable. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid
Renault Megane E-Tech long-term test
The latest Renault Megane has gone electric, and its styling is part hatchback and part SUV. But what's it like to live with?