Oxford city council plans to phase out older taxis from operating within the city, and will look to invest over Â£500,000 for the installation of dedicated electric car charging points, it has announced today (11 July).
The investment forms part of a wider plan to reduce air pollutant emissions within the city, after it was revealed that air quality improvements in Oxford have begun to slow down after improvements made following the introduction of a Low Emission Zone in 2014 (see airqualitynews.com story).
The city council is working with the City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association (COLTA) on the scheme, which will see 19 electric vehicle charging points installed for the exclusive use of hackney and private hire taxis. The councilâ€™s aim is to install the first seven in 2018, and the remaining 12 in 2019.
The council has also announced its intention to set an age limit on all hackney carriages operating in Oxford of 18 years and require all newly-licenced hackney carriages to be ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) â€“ with licensing changes expected to come into effect from the end of 2018.
Councillor John Tanner, executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: â€œOxford has illegal levels of air pollution in some parts of the city, which is affecting the health of residents. Every vehicle in Oxford is contributing to this major public health emergency.
â€œWe are working with the county council on plans to introduce a Zero Emission Zone from 2020, which will restrict access to Oxford city centre for emitting vehicles, and will go a long way to getting air pollution below legal limits. This new scheme will provide the electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help get Oxfordâ€™s hackney cabs ready for 2020.â€
The charging points will be â€˜rapidâ€™ and â€˜fastâ€™ chargers to enable drivers to quickly charge batteries during breaks, according to the council.
The locations will be finalised following consultation with drivers, but potential locations include Oxford Rail Station, Gloucester Green, London Road, Cowley Road, St Giles, Summertown car park, and Redbridge and Seacourt park and rides.
The city council was awarded Â£370,000 of funding from the Governmentâ€™s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles for the project. It will also seek to secure the remaining funding from private investment.
It is hoped that the infrastructure and licensing changes will see nitrogen dioxide emissions from Oxfordâ€™s 107 licenced hackney carriages reduce by 50% by 2020.