The Mayor of London has launched a £25 million diesel scrappage scheme for cars to reduce toxic air in the capital.

The ‘scrap for cash’ fund will give car owners financial support to swap their polluting vehicles for cleaner cars that meet emissions standards for the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which will begin in April this year in central London.

Mr Khan said: “Our country’s filthy air is a national disgrace that shortens lives, damages our lungs, and severely impacts our NHS.

“Now, with seven weeks to go until the introduction of the 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, I’m announcing plans to help motorists on low incomes, as well as micro-businesses, to scrap their older, more polluting vehicles.

As part of the ‘scrap for cash’ fund Mr Khan also announced last year he would be giving £23 million to help micro-businesses and vans swap to cleaner vehicles – bringing the total fund to £48 million.

The announcement came as leaders from cities in the UK and environmental groups attended a clean air summit at the Tate Modern on February 14, where new environmental legislation was discussed with the Government.

Leaders, including Mr Khan, made a number of demands to the Government, including asking them to grant powers to local authorities to deliver zero-emission transport networks and set and enforce targets for local air quality.

Mr Khan added: “Ministers must now show they can match my commitment. If we’re going to tackle the health crisis and social injustice caused by air pollution it is vital and only fair that a national vehicle scrappage scheme is funded and supported by the Government.”

Labour’s London Assembly environment spokesperson, Leonie Cooper, said: “London’s air pollution is a public health emergency, contributing to as many as 10,000 early deaths each year.

“The fact that the Mayor will now double his scrap for cash fund will provide excellent support for micro-businesses and low-income Londoners to transition to cleaner vehicles and improve our air.

“The Mayor is leading the way with real action, not warm words – with government support, we can be even more ambitious about cleaning up London’s air.”