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Transport for London boosts funding for cleaner taxis by £24m

Fri 15 February 2019 | Back to news list

Transport for London has announced that it will invest an extra £24m to help more black cab drivers switch to zero and low emission vehicles to help tackle the capital's air quality problems and limit climate change. The funding will support drivers in switching to the latest electric vehicles or repowering existing models to LPG.

The funding boost, announced by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, more than doubles TfL’s existing £18m fund, originally announced late last year.

Under the plans, grants will be restructured to provide more payments at higher levels – with 1,000 more drivers set to benefit from the maximum £10,000 payment from trading in their older, dirtier vehicles earlier. The additional funding should help around 2,000 additional drivers go green, with more than 5,000 drivers now set to benefit from the fund overall. 

TfL says that the enhanced scheme – on its own - could reduce NOx taxi emissions by as much as 20 per cent.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “I’m pleased the Mayor has recognised the need to support the taxi trade in its efforts to reduce emissions and accelerate the growth of the zero emission capable taxi fleet. 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.”

From 1 January last year, all black cabs licensed for the first time have had to be zero emission capable (ZEC). TfL says that there are now more than 1,000 EVs serving London, with more than 150 rapid charging points giving cabbies a wide range of locations to power up quickly. 64 of the rapid charging points are specifically reserved for black cabs. By 2020 there will be at least 300 points to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

As part of the announcement, the Mayor has also increased the level of funding for LPG-repowered taxis from £2.5m to £5m. Independent testing shows that an average TX4 taxi emits over 70 per cent less NOx after being converted to run on LPG. Trials also show that drivers of LPG-converted taxis can save around £200 a month in fuel costs. The LPG-repowered vehicles have been accredited under the LowCVP/EST CVRAS scheme.

Transport for London has proposed that taxis (both TX2 & 4 models) repowered to LPG will continue to be licensed for 15 years, alongside the latest Euro 6 and electric models. Under the new measures due to be introduced later this year, drivers of Euro 5, Euro 4 and Euro 3 taxis will have to retire their vehicles at 12 years.

The increase in the grant means that 1,000 owners can now apply for the £5,000 grant towards LPG repowering.

Autogas says it has also received approval for the repowered vehicles to operate in Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as London.

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