Abstract: It has emerged that a promised £1m fund for cleaner taxis is dependent on securing sponsorship, and, if it materialises, will be used to help taxi owners switch to newer existing models, rather than to design and develop a zero emission taxi.
The Mayor has finally admitted that a £1m fund to promote ‘low emission taxis’ is not going to be used to build electric or hydrogen taxis. This is despite several public statements since December 2009, stating that such a fund existed and many answers to Assembly members’ questions which stated, or implied, that such a fund was in existence. The £1m fund never appeared in any of the Transport for London financial reports.
In October of last year, the Mayor started stating that the fund was dependent upon sponsorship. He also dropped all mention of electric taxis and said that funding subsidies would be directed towards helping black cab drivers switch to the cleanest vehicles on the market (which are diesel driven). A statement on this was due before January 2012, when the 15 age limit rule came into effect, but no announcement has yet been made.
Darren Johnson said:
"The Mayor's million pound fund for electric taxis has never materialised, despite it appearing in several Mayoral press statements during the last two years. It has become an often repeated myth which the Mayor has used to grab headlines. Boris Johnson is all spin and hype when it comes to electric taxis and doing something to protect Londoners’ health from the city’s appalling air pollution. The Mayor has let down Londoners and he has let down London's taxi drivers."
Mayoral press release Dec 2010 “£1 million incentive fund to stimulate market for electric black cabs”
Mayor’s air quality strategy, Dec 2010, states:
“The Mayor will collaborate with the taxi manufacturing industry to develop an affordable taxi capable of zero-emission operation by 2020. To this end, the Mayor will work with manufacturers to ensure that all new taxis available by 2015 have 60 per cent better fuel economy than vehicles produced in 2010.
To accelerate the deployment of more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles into London’s taxi fleet, the Mayor will establish a financial incentive scheme that will offer a reduction on the purchase price of qualifying vehicles to London’s taxi drivers.”
Press officer: 020 7983 4424