Transport Secretary Mark Harper has told Mayor of London Sadiq Khan there is no “legal barrier” to cars being donated to Ukraine through the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) scrappage scheme.
Mr Khan asked the Cabinet minister in December to enable 4x4s and other suitable vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped to be sent to Ukraine, with their owners still receiving a payment.
The mayor had previously made it clear he did not believe altering the Ulez scheme for exporting vehicles would be possible under current laws.
Mr Harper wrote a letter to Mr Khan on Wednesday which stated: “We do not consider there to be any legal barrier to allowing vehicles to be donated to Ukraine.
“You have identified legal obstacles that relate to the processes and design of your scheme and DfT (Department for Transport) and DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) officials have been working with TfL (Transport for London) to identify routes to overcome these.”
The Transport Secretary claimed it is a “reasonable certainty” that vehicles donated to Ukraine through the Ulez scheme would be “highly unlikely” to leave the hands of the Ukrainian army and return to the UK.
He also said the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has created a bespoke process for recording when it is notified of a vehicle being exported to the eastern European country, enabling TfL to avoid “multiple scrappage payments being paid for the same vehicle”.
Commenting on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Mr Khan wrote: “Encouraging news from the Transport Secretary – let’s keep working together to get this done.”
Mr Khan hopes a programme for exporting non-Ulez compliant vehicles to Ukraine could be used by other cities with scrappage schemes.
He has instructed his officials to work through the details of the Government’s proposals.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reportedly wrote to his London counterpart to suggest donating vehicles as part of the scrappage scheme to assist with Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.
The Ulez area was expanded to include the whole of the capital in August last year, making it the world’s largest pollution charging area.
People who drive in the zone in a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.
A £160 million scheme run by TfL enables residents, small businesses, sole traders and charities scrapping non-compliant cars to claim grants.