The scheme, called Clean Up, will mainly target buses and taxis and will be run by the Energy Saving Trust as a sister initiative to the Powershift programme, which offers fleets grants to help them to purchase alternatively-fuelled vehicles.
Clean Up is actually the new name for the Cleaner Vehicles Programme set up this year with a £6 million budget, but it will now receive £30 million for the next three years following an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at The Hague Climate Change Conference last month.
Unveiling the scheme at The Oval, junior transport minister Lord Whitty, joined by Jonathan Murray, head of transport at the Energy Saving Trust, said the Clean Up programme would pay for urban vehicles to be fitted with pollution cutting equipment, such as catalytic converters and particulate traps, or convert them to run on fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas.
The programme is a direct response to recommendations by the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force and the Commission for Integrated Transport that the Government should introduce mechanisms to tackle pollution from existing vehicles. It will mainly focus on large cities, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Bradford.