London Mayor Boris Johnson has renewed calls for scrapping the most polluting diesel cars and giving drivers a cash incentive to switch to cleaner vehicles.

During evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, Mr Johnson supported proposals for the Government to help motorists by offering between a £1,000 and £2,000 grant per vehicle for the most polluting diesels which are more than 12 months old.

The Mayor called it a brilliant opportunity, which would also accelerate the uptake of cleaner Euro6 emission compliant diesel models, to support the British car industry and promote the early uptake of ultra low emission vehicles.    

Charging more-polluting diesel cars is a key part of the Mayor’s proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will be introduced in central London from 2020 Subject to consultation, which is due to start in late October, he has proposed a charge, which could be equivalent to the London Congestion Charge of £11.50.

However, the Mayor believes that it is only fair that Government provides support to people who have bought diesel vehicles in good faith to switch to cleaner alternatives. 

The Ultra Low Emission Zone, which would mirror the Congestion Charge Zone, is set to take London two-thirds of the way to compliance with European Union limit values for nitrogen dioxide and is aimed at encouraging all vehicles in central London to be ultra low or zero emission from 2020. Other cities across the UK are also believed to be considering introducing an Ultra Low Emission Zone to improve air quality.