The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will spend an extra £24m to support black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles, following a high demand for TfL’s existing £18m fund which launched last month.
Under the plans, grants will be restructured to provide more payments at higher levels, with around 1,000 more drivers set to benefit from the maximum £10,000 payment from trading in their older vehicles earlier.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I’ve been delighted by the number of cabbies who have applied for our grants so far – doing their bit to improve our dirty air. The additional £24m announced today will more than double the size of the scheme, making it easier for more drivers across the city to go green.’
The additional funding, included in the Mayor’s draft budget for 2019/20, is expected to help around 2,000 additional drivers go green in total, with more than 5,000 drivers now set to benefit from the fund overall.
The Mayor says the scheme could reduce NOx taxi emissions by as much as 20%.
The funding comes as TfL launches a 10-week public consultation on changes which would significantly reduce harmful emissions from taxis. Londoners are being asked for their views on changing the age limits of black cabs to speed up the process of the dirtiest vehicles being replaced with zero-emission-capable cabs.
The funding was welcomed by Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.
He said: ‘I’m pleased the Mayor has recognised the need to support the taxi trade in its efforts to reduce emissions and accelerate the growth of the zero emission capable taxi fleet.
‘Providing an additional £24m funding for the newly enhanced delicensing scheme is the right thing to do and I welcome the Mayor’s intervention.
‘This will provide a leg-up to those who want to adopt this exciting new technology. Anything we can do to improve air quality in London will benefit everyone, including taxi drivers who will suffer the ill effects of air pollution as much as anyone else.’
From 1 January last year, all black cabs licensed for the first time have had to be zero emission capable (ZEC). There are now more than 1,000 of the new environmentally friendly vehicles serving London, and by 2020 the Mayor says there will be at least 300 points to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, added: ‘This is a welcome move from TfL and we would like to see other cities follow suit. Air pollution is a threat to all of our health, and our lungs act as an early warning sign of the damage it’s doing throughout our bodies.’