£24m funding boost to help more London taxi drivers go green
The Mayor of London has announced plans to make an extra £24m available to help more black drivers switch to electric vehicles.
The funding, included in the Mayor’s draft budget for 2019/20 as well as the car scrappage scheme plans announced yesterday, is in addition to TfL’s existing £18m delicensing fund that launched last month and will see grants restructured to provide more payments at higher levels. It means that a thousand more drivers will benefit from the maximum £10,000 payment for delicensing their Euro 3/4/5 vehicles earlier.
The Mayor says the enhanced scheme – on its own – could reduce NOx taxi emissions by as much as 20%.
The funding boost comes as TfL launches a 10-week public consultation on changes intended to further cut taxi pollution, including changing the age limits of black cabs to speed up the process of the oldest vehicles being replaced with zero emission-capable cabs.
Black cabs are exempt from both the Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone, but they cause 20% of road transport emissions in central London, and this is expected to grow further this year unless action is taken. TfL’s proposals aim to address this by reducing taxi-based NOx emissions by 65% by 2025, including through a tightening of the rules so that taxis cannot be licensed beyond their actual maximum age limit. The consultation also calls for views on a phased reduction in the age limit for the most polluting taxis to 12 years by 2022 by decreasing the current 15-year limit each year, by a year, from 2020, and by removing the automatic age limit exemptions for alternative fuel conversions, historic vehicles or personal circumstances.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “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.”
For more details of the consultation, click here.