London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected a proposal to send cars destined for the scrapheap under London’s Ulez scheme to Ukraine, stating in a letter obtained by The Telegraph that the move does not meet the “legal threshold” required for the Ulez scrappage scheme to benefit Londoners economically, socially, and environmentally. The Mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klitschko, had suggested the donation of these vehicles for use on the front lines, emphasizing their potential in life-saving and transport roles.
Under the Ulez scheme, London motorists can claim a £2,000 one-off payment if they scrap non-compliant vehicles, or face a daily charge of £12.50 for keeping them. Critics, including Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall, argue that Khan’s decision is absurd, asserting that Londoners should have the freedom to decide if they want their scrapped cars sent to support Ukraine.
“Standing with Ukraine against tyrants like Putin is not only a moral imperative but also in the best interest of all Londoners and the global community,” Hall stated.
Car for Ukraine, a volunteer initiative delivering vehicles to the front line, condemned Khan’s decision, citing a “lack of political courage” and emphasizing the opportunity to show solidarity with Ukraine. Critics, including senior Tory MPs, deemed the decision “outrageous,” with some arguing that it hampers the ability to help Ukraine during a difficult time.
“Presumably it’s no bad thing and no ‘disbenefit’ for Londoners to actually show solidarity with another free state fighting tyranny, rather than only line the greedy pockets of private scrapyard merchants who are receiving thousands of perfectly good cars as the result of the scrappage scheme subsidy,” Richard Lofthouse, who works with Car for Ukraine, said.
Khan defended the Ulez scrappage scheme as designed to permanently remove the most polluting vehicles from London’s roads, while critics like Chris Pool of Liberty Trucks Ukraine argued that sending cars to Ukraine could increase participation in the scheme, benefiting all Londoners.
Gareth Johnson, the MP for Dartford who introduced a private members’ Bill to overturn the Ulez expansion, said:
“Both London and the rest of the world will benefit from stopping tyrants like Putin succeeding in his aggressive actions.
“I am gobsmacked. The vast majority of Londoners would want to see vehicles that can help the people of Ukraine in their difficult time. This is bureaucracy gone mad and it’s an astonishing decision by Sadiq Khan. “Anything that helps the people of Ukraine benefits all of us. It’s basic humanity to help Ukraine and pass on these cars and he is refusing to do so.”
Chris Pool, a former lawyer and co-founder of Liberty Trucks Ukraine, which has delivered 350 trucks and ambulances from the UK to the front line, said: “It would seem to us that sending a car to Ukraine has equal benefit to Londoners as scrapping it.
“In fact, the scheme would encourage more owners to participate and would likely result in a larger number of non-compliant vehicles being removed from London’s roads. That is the whole point of the scrappage scheme, and surely would be of benefit to every Londoner.”
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