Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced new plans to tackle congestion, reduce toxic emissions, improve air quality and protect Londoners’ health by funding new electric charge points and incentivising taxi drivers to ditch their old polluting vehicles.
In an attempt to clean up the capital’s air, Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have announced joint plans to tackle congestion and get rid of “dirty diesel” taxis.
Under the new plans, taxis or private hire vehicles are no longer exempt from the central London congestion charge, the maximum taxi age limits for the dirtiest vehicles is to be lowered to 12 years by 2022, and a new cleaner vehicle discount will encourage motorists to use the cleanest possible vehicles.
This work coincides with the delivery of 150 rapid-charge points and generous grants of £7,500 to help taxi drivers to switch to electric vehicles as soon as possible.
There are now nearly 1,000 zero-emission-capable taxis in the fleet. However, LEVC, formerly the London Taxi Company, charges upwards of £55,000 for one of its new fully electric black cabs.
Investment in removing “dirty diesel” taxis from the Capital has so far been low, with only around £450,000 spent by TfL.
“Toxic air pollution in London is a major public health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leads to thousands of premature deaths and increases the risk of asthma and dementia,” Khan said.
“We have to make tough decisions to protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners and tackle harmful emissions from the most polluting vehicles. We’ve prioritised cleaning up our bus fleet and the early introduction of the 24-hour Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London. Now we need private hire vehicles and taxis to play their part and help us clean up our filthy air.”
In the first phase, only zero emission-capable vehicles will be exempt from the Congestion Charge from 8 April 2019.
The restrictions will tighten further in October 2021 to support the Mayor’s ambition for zero-emission road transport by 2050, with only pure electric vehicles qualifying for the discount. The discount will expire in December 2025.
New measures proposed by the Mayor and TfL:
- An enhanced delicensing fund, providing up to £10,000 for drivers who trade in their older, dirtier vehicles early
- A £2.5M fund to help drivers of newer Euro 5 taxis to convert to much cleaner LPG fuel
- A consultation early next year on a phased reduction in maximum taxi age limits for the dirtiest vehicles from 15 years to 12 years by 2022
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