Mayor Sadiq Khan is making a further £50m available to clean up London’s taxis, commercial vehicles and cars.
£25m will be added to a previously announced £23m fund and will enable both micro-businesses and low-income Londoners to ditch their older, polluting vehicles, thereby avoiding having to pay the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge when it comes into effect in April.
The Mayor said: “With seven weeks weeks to go until the introduction of the 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, I’m announcing plans to help motorists on low incomes, as well as micro-businesses, to scrap their older, more polluting vehicles.”
Mr Khan has also announced an extra £24m to help more black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles. This money is in addition to a previously announced £18m fund.
Although black cabs are exempt from the ULEZ charge, they are a major source of pollution and both City Hall and Transport for London have identified cleaning up the fleet as a key step in boosting the quality of London’s air.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said the cash would “provide a leg-up to those who want to adopt this exciting new technology.”
He added: “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.”
The extra cash has also been welcomed by Labour’s London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, Florence Eshalomi AM, who said: “In London, we are facing a stark situation with almost 10,000 people dying prematurely every year and children’s lungs being stunted by excessive levels of air pollution.
“Our cabbies have been playing their part in helping to clean up the capital’s air with many having switched to zero emissions capable vehicles.
“This significant funding boost, which comes on top of the £18 million that TfL have already allocated, will be vital in helping even more cabbies in the capital transition to cleaner taxis from older, more polluting vehicles”.