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London mayor agrees to send scrap cars to Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 23, 2023 3:45 AM 2 min read
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Nov. 20, 2023. (Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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In a reversal of his earlier decision, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to support a plan to send the city's scrap vehicles to Ukraine, U.K. media reported on Dec. 23.

Khan had previously rejected the proposal, which was put forth by Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko in September. Klitschko asked Khan to send cars that do not meet London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standards to Ukraine instead of the scrapyard.  

Khan said he could not approve the proposal because it does not benefit Londoners under the "legal threshold" mandated by the ULEZ program.

The London mayor has now reversed this decision, calling on U.K. Transport Secretary Mark Harper to allow the city's residents to donate their high-emission cars to Ukraine. A letter penned by Khan and former U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace asked Harper to give drivers “money for taking polluting vehicles off our cities’ streets while providing vital support towards the people of Ukraine."

The ULEZ aims to clear London's air by requiring those driving high-emission vehicles in the city to pay a fee of 12.50 pounds ($15.80). London residents can receive up to 2,000 pounds ($2,500) in exchange for scrapping their car if it does not meet ULEZ emissions standards.

Klitschko asked Khan to send these vehicles instead to Ukraine's front lines, since many non-compliant cars are heavy 4x4 vehicles and trucks that are urgently needed in combat zones.

After Khan originally denied Klitschko's request, British MP Michael Gove wrote an open letter asking Khan to reconsider.

"I am sure that you would agree that taking these same vehicles off London’s roads – and thus achieving the same environmental benefits – whilst supporting the efforts in Ukraine, is preferable simply to scrapping them," Gove said.

Khan and Wallace said they came to their new decision following talks with the mayor's office in Kyiv and other partners.

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