Cars that aren’t Ulez-compliant set to be sent to Ukraine under scrappage scheme

  • Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London to amend scrappage scheme
  • It’ll mean non-compliant vehicles can be donated to Ukraine
  • They’ll help meet humanitarian and medical needs
  • Plan could be launched in weeks
  • Announcement is made on second anniversary of Russia’s invasion

Time 7:25 am, February 23, 2024

Transport for London is to amend the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) scrappage scheme so that non-compliant vehicles can be donated to Ukraine.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has asked the transport body to make the move after transport secretary Mark Harper told him there wasn’t any legal obstacle to cars being given to Ukraine via the scheme.

Khan performed a U-turn in December when he asked the cabinet minister to enable 4x4s and other suitable vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped to be sent to Ukraine, with their owners still being paid.

His refusal to save used cars from the crusher and send them to Ukraine to help the war effort had been blasted by campaigners.

Khan says the plan, which could be launched in weeks, ‘will help meet medical and humanitarian needs while also helping to remove old polluting vehicles from London’s roads’.

Applicants will be able to donate vehicles that aren’t Ulez-compliant in return for the same grant available to drivers who scrap or retrofit their vehicles.

The donated vehicles will be permanently transferred to Ukrainian authorities and their partners for humanitarian and medical needs.

The scheme could be launched once it has been formally approved and TfL has updated its rules and processes.

The charity British-Ukrainian Aid (BUA), which works with grassroots organisations in Ukraine where it procured and delivered more than 300 medical and evacuation vehicles during 2023, is to help organise the roll-out of the new measures.

BUA will provide documentation for people to receive their scrappage grant, transfer the vehicles to Ukraine and report on the number of donated vehicles.

Richard Lofthouse, who began the Ulez to Ukraine campaign a year ago, told Car Dealer: ‘This is a great day and we have reached an important milestone.

‘But there is no scheme as such just an intention, so there is no celebration until vehicles reach Ukraine, and I hope that will be by Easter. Now the real work begins.

‘I do wish the mayor could have come over to this a year ago. As it stands, over 40,000 vehicles have been scrapped already, so we are against a clock to get this moving.

‘British-Ukrainian Aid will need support and funding, and Londoners will need to know that they can opt for Ukraine when they apply for the scrappage.’

London Ambulance Service will also donate 50 decommissioned ambulances to Ukraine – 10 in the next few weeks with a further 40 by the end of the summer.

Ambulances aren’t charged to drive in the zone but the emergency service plans to steadily decommission non-compliant vehicles.

The donation announcement coincides with the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reportedly wrote to his London counterpart to suggest donating vehicles as part of the scrappage scheme.

Khan said today: ‘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.’

Eduard Fesko, from the Ukrainian embassy in the UK, described the plans as ‘a unique opportunity to give a second life to vehicles by donating them to Ukraine, which can help save human lives’.

He added: ‘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.’

The Ulez was expanded to include the whole of the capital in August, making it the world’s largest pollution-charging area.

People who drive in the zone in a vehicle that doesn’t meet minimum emissions standards must pay a £12.50 daily fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

A £160m scheme run by TfL enables residents, small businesses, sole traders and charities scrapping non-compliant cars to claim grants. All London residents can apply for up to £2,000 for scrapping a car or up to £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle.

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