London mayor rebuffs Kiev over 'scrap' cars – Telegraph

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Sadiq Khan reportedly argued that the transfer would not benefit city residents, sparking outrage

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has rebuffed a request from his counterpart in Ukraine’s capital to donate cars that are to be scrapped as part of a major environmental program, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

According to the article, in September, Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko sent a letter to Khan asking him to provide Ukraine with four-wheel-drive vehicles and pick-up trucks that London authorities had collected from the public under the so-called Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) program.

First introduced in 2019, the initiative seeks to improve the British capital’s air quality by discouraging the use of older, less climate-friendly vehicles. While it entitles motorists to a one-time payment of £2,000 ($2,537) for scrapping a car that does not comply with the regulation, it imposes a daily charge of £12.50 on those who continue to drive those vehicles within the ULEZ, which covers all of Greater London.

Klitschko argued that instead of being scrapped, those vehicles had “enormous potential” in a “variety of life-saving and transport roles” on the battlefield and beyond in Ukraine.

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However, according to the letter, dated December 12 and obtained by the Telegraph, Khan rebuffed the request, saying that it did not meet the “legal threshold” requiring the ULEZ to benefit Londoners from an “economic, social and environmental perspective.”

The move reportedly sparked outrage among senior Conservative lawmakers, with MP Gareth Johnson saying he “was gobsmacked.” He believed that most Londoners would be happy to see the vehicles helping Ukraine.

“This is bureaucracy gone mad and it’s an astonishing decision by Sadiq Khan,” he explained. “Anything that helps the people of Ukraine benefits all of us.”

Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate for mayor of London, joined in the criticism, calling Khan’s decision absurd. “Londoners who choose to scrap their cars should have the freedom to decide for themselves if they want their car sent to support Ukraine,” she told the paper.

British volunteer organizations have been collecting various vehicles to donate to Ukrainian troops, the Telegraph said. Once in the country, they are often fitted with different types of weaponry and used either in combat or to transport wounded soldiers.

The UK has emerged as one of Kiev’s main backers, providing it with more than £4.6 billion ($5.8 billion) in military assistance. Moscow has denounced Western arms shipments to Ukraine, saying they will only prolong the conflict.

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