London’s black cab drivers take up £30m of zero-emission fund

All 1,250 payments of £10,000 for taxi drivers to take their diesel vehicles off the road have been awarded.

It means around £30m of the wider £42m delicensing fund has been spent.

Taxis are currently responsible for 25% of harmful NOx emissions and next year they will be the biggest source of transport pollution in central London. TfL has a target to reduce emissions from taxis by 65% by 2025.

Black cabs are exempt from London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

An electric taxi costs between £50,000 and £100,000, though running costs are around £100 per week lower than diesel.

Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said: ‘The air quality crisis means it is imperative to reduce the maximum age limit for taxis.

‘We will continue to support taxi drivers in making the transition to zero-emission with a range of grants and an ever-expanding rapid charge point network.’

In January, The Mayor of London increased the size of the green fund to £42m, meaning that £10,000 payments were available to the first 1,250 taxi drivers to sign up.

Payments to encourage the uptake of zero-emission capable cabs will continue on a sliding scale and are made on a first come, first served basis, with payments at the £8,000 threshold still available.

From January 2018, all new taxis licensed for the first time must be zero-emission capable (ZEC).

TfL has also now confirmed the age limit for black cabs will be reduced to 12 years for Euro 3, 4 and 5 taxis by 2022.

From November, the current 15-year age limit will apply to the anniversary of the date when the vehicle was licensed, with a proposed reduction in the age limit to 14 years from November 2020 and an annual reduction of one year each year until the 12-year age limit is reached.

Euro 6 taxis, those converted to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and zero emission taxis will retain the 15-year age limit.

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘London’s cabbies embracing the shift to zero-emission vehicles will be a key element in reducing emissions and improving air quality in the capital. But we still need to see more being done to speed up the transition to zero-emission vehicles across the country.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay