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London’s Ulez scrappage scheme vehicles to be sent to Ukraine, announces Sadiq Khan

A number of vehicles handed over for destruction under London’s Ulez scrappage scheme will soon be sent to Ukraine, Sadiq Khan has announced.

Among the vehicles to go to the warzone will be 50 decommissioned ambulances from the London Ambulance Service, with 10 planned to be sent in the next few weeks, and a further 40 by the end of the summer.

It comes after the mayor and former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had jointly written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper shortly before Christmas, calling on him to alter the regulations for the issuing of a Certificate of Destruction under the scrappage scheme.

They suggested this was necessary in order to enable vehicles to be sent to Ukraine via a registered charity or national scheme.

But in a letter to Mr Khan at the end of January, Mr Harper said that the Government does “not consider there to be any legal barrier to allowing vehicles to be donated to Ukraine”.

With the mayor having now asked Transport for London (TfL) to amend the scrappage scheme to allow for the change, it is hoped the first vehicles will be donated within a matter of weeks.

Under the scrappage scheme, Londoners are able to receive money in exchange for submitting their non-Ulez compliant vehicle for destruction, or in a few cases to be retrofitted. Cars can be scrapped for a £2,000 sum and motorbikes for £1,000, with larger grants on offer for vans and minibuses.

Under a new set of arrangements, some vehicles submitted to be scrapped will instead be permanently transferred to the Ukrainian authorities. Ukraine’s infrastructure has been significantly damaged in the conflict and it is hoped that donating a range of different vehicles will provide the country with humanitarian and logistical assistance.

The owners of those vehicles will still receive the same amount of grant funding as if the vehicles had been scrapped, City Hall said.

Mr Khan said: “Two years on from Russia’s devastating illegal invasion of Ukraine, I continue to do all I can to help those affected, including supporting Ukrainians seeking help in London and signposting where Londoners can make donations.

“Alongside the human toll of the conflict, there has been a significant impact on Ukraine’s infrastructure, and these plans to donate non-compliant vehicles will help meet medical and humanitarian needs while also helping to remove old, polluting vehicles from London’s roads.

“The scrappage scheme is open to all Londoners with an eligible non-Ulez compliant vehicle and is playing a key part in my mission to clean up our city’s toxic air.”

TfL has confirmed that the registered charity British-Ukrainian Aid (BUA) has been chosen as a trusted intermediary to roll out the new system.

Under the plans, BUA will facilitate the donation of suitable vehicles to Ukraine, provide the relevant documentation for people to receive their scrappage grant, transfer the vehicles to Ukraine and report on the number of vehicles donated in this way.

The mayor had been concerned about the possibility of vehicles donated to Ukraine finding their way back to London, but the new system will mean that the vehicles will be permanently removed from the UK following their donation to Ukraine, with BUA providing evidence of this to TfL.

The development was welcomed by Eduard Fesko, chargé d’affaires of Ukraine in the UK, who said: “The Ulez programme is gradually expanding, providing a healthier and happier environment for London residents and visitors. Ukraine is also aiming for similar reforms, whether in Kyiv or other cities, where comprehensive reconstruction will be required after the end of the barbaric Russian aggression.

“There is a unique opportunity to give a second life to vehicles by donating them to Ukraine, which can help save human lives. This initiative can benefit Ukraine and London greatly, and the Embassy of Ukraine in the United Kingdom is proud to support this initiative and encourages all charity organisations and volunteer groups to join this effort.”

Mr Khan initially set aside £110 million in scrappage funds but increased this to £160 million ahead of the Ulez expansion to the Greater London boundary last August. In January he allocated a further £50 million from his 2024/25 City Hall budget, taking the total to £210 million.

According to TfL, a total of £158.1 million of the fund had been committed as of the end of last month, leaving a little over £50 million still to be claimed.

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