Vehicle Scrappage Schemes

Scrappage schemes have been vitally important to Britain’s consumers as an affordable way to reduce their emissions. But have scrappage schemes had their heyday? And do these schemes still exist?

Scrappage Scheme Overview

  • There is currently no nationwide and government backed scrappage scheme in place
  • Limited scrappage schemes exist in clean air zone cities, with support from local government. See the list.
  • Car manufacturers have some scrappage scheme offers based on the purchase of a new vehicle. See the list.
  • Scrapping a car can still get you paid cash for your end of life vehicle
  • Some cars may be salvaged and worth a lot more than scrap

Manufacturer Scrappage Schemes

Clean Air Zone Scrappage Schemes

What Is a Scrappage Scheme?

A scrappage scheme is a funded incentive for owners of older, less environmentally friendly cars to trade in their more polluting vehicles and replace them with something a little kinder to the planet. Following similar schemes in Germany, France and Italy in 1999, the first British scrappage scheme came in 2009, announced by then chancellor Alistair Darling in the 2009 Budget. Two extensions followed before it finally ended in March 2010. Since then, most scrappage schemes have been run by individual car manufacturers.

With the push for electric vehicles heightening and Clean Air Schemes becoming more regular in British towns and cities, location based scrappage incentives are also beginning to appear, allowing residents and workers to replace non-compliant vehicles with greener alternatives like electric or hybrid cars.

How Does a Scrappage Scheme Work?

Scrappage schemes often offer an up-front figure for an old car in return for taking it off the road, however this money usually must be used to go towards a brand new car, or a reduced figure with a public transport pass – encouraging more people to ditch their daily drivers and take the bus instead.

Payments are not universally available, however, and there will always be criteria that you would need to abide by before qualifying for any sort of grant payment. This is usually to do with the type of vehicle you drive, how long you’ve owned it and, in more recent schemes, where you live or work. It would be impossible for us to list all the of the individual permutations on this page, which is why we have gone into further details on each scheme’s dedicated page.

Car Scrappage Scheme Benefits

The benefits of a scrappage scheme is that you can go into the scheme knowing exactly what you will be receiving from the deal. When selling a car for scrap in the conventional way, you are bound by a number of different parameters, such as the current cost of scrap metal and the overall value of your car itself, so there is no guaranteed price from the outset. 

Scrappage schemes are also an easy way to ensure that you are able to comply with any and all clean air schemes in your areas, meaning you can avoid the pain and frustration of having to pay a daily charge over and over again.

Scrappage Scheme for Diesels

The motoring world was rocked in the mid-2010s by the now infamous Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, where the German manufacturer had managed to manipulate the emissions testing process so that its cars passed their nitric oxide (NOx) tests, but then would go on to produce over 40 times that figure in actual running.

The scandal resulted in many people being turned off of the idea of running diesel cars, and many manufacturers, including those that were not connected with the emissions scandal, began running scrappage schemes particularly for diesel vehicles produced before 2010. The idea was to boost sales, which were dwindling across the board, of new cars, while reducing the overall number of more-polluting diesel vehicles on the road – often those built to Euro 4 emission standard specifications or earlier. 

Government Scrappage Schemes

The initial scrappage scheme of 2009 was launched by the UK Government in the 2009 Budget, and saw £300,000,000 spent to support the replacement of 300,000 vehicles. The government put forward £1,000 for customers who owned a car older than ten years old for at least 12 months, with car manufacturers also taking £1,000 off the list price of their vehicles, equating a total saving of £2,000. This scheme was extended twice before ending in March 2010.

There has not been a nationwide scrappage scheme since March 2010, however local government has run its own schemes for respective areas, such as London, Birmingham and Scotland. There are nuances to each individual scheme, and further details on each scheme can be found on the relevant dedicated page.

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