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Shift to electric taxis in Northern Ireland is a ‘devolved matter’, says Government minister

Updated: Dec 2, 2023


Image credit: LEVC

The planned shift to electric taxis in Northern Ireland is a ‘devolved matter’, says Government minister.


Jim Shannon, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Member of Parliament for Strangford, recently raised a question about the transition to fully electric taxi fleets in Northern Ireland. He posed a question to the Secretary of State for Transport, seeking information on the steps being taken to encourage this transition.

In response, Guy Opperman, Minister for Roads and Local Transport at the Department for Transport (DfT), acknowledged that taxi policy is a devolved matter in all UK nations. However, he emphasised that the UK Government has been actively supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles through Plug in Vehicle Grants (PiTG) available across the UK.


The PiTG are aimed at assisting the adoption of zero emission vehicles, including taxis, wheelchair accessible vehicles, and vans. Grant eligibility is determined based on the design and capability of the vehicle. The government continually reviews all grants to ensure the best value for taxpayers' money.


The PiTG is set to end Spring 2024 and has prompted taxi associations to call for its extension. The grant offers £7,500 off the cost of a LEVC TX and is seen as vital given recent inflation and cost of living rises.

Opperman further noted that local authorities in the devolved administrations, such as Northern Ireland, have the opportunity to receive funding for chargepoint infrastructure through initiatives like the Levelling Up Fund. In the case of Northern Ireland, the Government has already allocated £3 million specifically for the upgrade of the electric vehicle charging network.

Shannon's inquiry highlights the growing importance of transitioning to electric vehicles in the taxi industry, not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to improve air quality and promote more modern and sustainable transportation.


Opperman MP said: “Taxi policy is a devolved matter in all UK nations. However, the UK Government provides Plug in Vehicle Grants (PiTG) to support the transition to zero emission vehicles across the UK.


“These include a number of harder to transition vehicles including taxis, wheelchair accessible vehicles and vans. The eligibility for these grants is based on the vehicle design and capability. All grants are kept under continual review to ensure the best value for taxpayer's money.


“Some local authorities in the devolved administrations may have received money to support chargepoint installation through the Levelling Up Fund, such as in Northern Ireland, which received £3 million towards the upgrade of the electric vehicle charging network."

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