In the latest in a series of hard-hitting measures to clean up London’s toxic air, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a £42m fund to encourage the owners of the oldest, most polluting diesel black cabs to retire them from the Capital’s fleet.
Taxis are a significant contributor to London’s toxic air quality, and are responsible for 16 per cent of NOx and 26 per cent of Particulate Matter (PM) road transport emissions in central London.
From today, the owners of black cabs which are between 10 and 15 years old can check whether they are eligible for TfL’s ‘delicensing’ scheme and then apply for a grant of up to £5,000 in exchange for retiring their taxi. For example, the owner of a 10-year-old taxi would receive the highest amount of £5,000, scaling down to £1,200 for a vehicle aged between 14 and 15 years old.
The three-year scheme aims to speed up the process of tackling London’s filthy air, greening the Capital’s taxi fleet, and working towards the goal of making London a zero-carbon city by 2050.
No more new diesel taxis will be licensed in London from 1 January 2018, and a number of manufacturers are prioritising delivering new greener, state-of-the-art Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) taxis. The London Electric Vehicle Company are the first to confirm the opening of their order book, expected in August.
The Government’s Plug-in Taxi Grant, part-funded by the Mayor, will also give cabbies purchasing new ZEC taxis up to £7,500 towards the purchase of a new vehicle. When combined with a delicensing payment, drivers could have up to £12,500 towards the purchase of a brand new ZEC taxi.
A greener fleet could reduce harmful NOx emissions from taxis by 45 per cent in central London by 2020, making a major contribution to cleaning up the city’s toxic air and preparing for the introduction of zero emission zones from 2025.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s filthy air is a health crisis that needs urgent action. The plans announced by the Government this week go nowhere near the action needed. Cleaning up London's taxi fleet will play a significant part in our toxic air battle and there will be no new diesel taxis licensed in London by the end of this year. However, it is important we financially support drivers to help them retire their oldest vehicles and upgrade to greener models. I hope this fund helps deliver a new generation of zero-emission taxis on our roads and paves the way for the Government to offer a diesel scrappage scheme so all London motorists can ditch their dirty diesels.”
Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager of Taxi and Private Hire, said: “Diesel taxis contribute significantly to London’s poor air quality and the financial assistance we have made available will encourage take-up and assist taxi drivers in making the transition to cleaner taxis.”