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Extra funding to accelerate the greening of London taxis

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to invest an extra £24mn to help more black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles, more than doubling Transport for London’s (TfL’s) existing £18mn fund which was launched in January.

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, says the Mayor’s Office. The additional funding is expected to help around 2,000 more drivers go green, with more than 5,000 drivers now set to benefit from the fund overall. The enhanced scheme could reduce NOx emissions from taxis by 20%. London currently has somewhere around 20,000 black taxi cabs on its roads.

The funding boost comes as TfL launches a public consultation on reducing emissions from taxis. Londoners are being asked for their views on changing the age limits of black cabs to speed up the process of the dirtiest vehicles being replaced with cabs capable of zero emissions.

Black cabs are exempt from the Ultra Low Emission Zone, but they cause 20% of road transport emissions in central London, says the Mayor’s Office, and this is expected to grow further unless action is taken. TfL’s proposals aim to reduce taxi-based NOx emissions by 65% by 2025.

Meanwhile, the government has awarded more than £6mn to support ultra-low emission taxis across the country, furthering its ambition for a zero emission future. The funding will see almost 300 rapid electric charge points and 46 fast charge points installed for ultra-low emission taxis in 17 local authorities, including in Greater Manchester, Brighton and Hove, Leicester and the north east.

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