Boris Johnson confirms Ultra Low Emission Zone, funding boost for green cabs

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (26 March) confirmed the launch of the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone and announced an increased fund of £65m to roll out zero-emission taxis across the capital.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be developed in central London on 7 September, 2020. It will require vehicles travelling through the Congestion Charge Zone to meet new emissions standards or pay a daily charge.

“The world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to help improve air quality in our city, protect the health of Londoners, and lengthen our lead as the greatest city on earth,” Johnson said.

Green cabs 

The announcement follows consideration of more than 16,000 responses received during the ULEZ consultation from the public, businesses and stakeholders. Seventy nine per cent of respondents said it was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to tackle poor air quality in London and 58% said they ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ the introduction of the ULEZ.

Meanwhile, Johnson also announced that an extra £25m from Government will be used to provide grants to help taxi drivers cover the cost of upgrading to a greener vehicle.

This is in addition to £40m already committed by the Mayor to assist taxi drivers whose vehicles would be affected by tighter age limits to retire the oldest, most polluting taxis.

“With additional funds announced today, more help is on the way for taxi drivers to support their transition to the latest technology in greener cabs. Together we can ensure everyone who lives, works in, or visits our city has the cleanest possible air to breathe,” Johnson added.

Commenting on these announcements, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I welcome this announcement which is a world first and great news for London, helping to enhance the quality of life and creating opportunities for companies who develop and manufacture this kind of technology. This will build on the UK’s strengths in low emission technology and the Government is backing this initiative with £25m of support.”

Business Minister Matthew Hancock added: “Low emission vehicles are a massively exciting new technology that will suit Londoners down to the ground. These new taxis have got fantastic potential and can be a real force for good within the capital.

“Londoners have always led the charge on new technology and I have no doubt that the new taxi will find its natural home in the capital. We will continue to champion this new green technology so that our capital is cleaner and we can help ease the commute for more people.”

Demand revs up 

In addition to the ULEZ, Transport for London (TfL) is committed to ensuring all 300 single decker buses operating in central London are zero-emission and all 3,000 double-deck buses will be hybrid, including 800 of the Mayor’s New ‘Routemaster’.

In light of the new funds announced today, the Mayor has asked TfL to undertake further engagement with the taxi and private hire trade before finalising his plans to change the licensing requirements for these vehicles. ‎The final package of measures is expected to be confirmed in the summer.

On Monday, a global report revealed that around 320,000 new electric vehicles were registered worldwide in 2014, accounting for 43% of all electric vehicles currently on the road.

Sustainable transport at Sustainability Live 2015

The evolution of transport technology will be discussed in detail at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a session at the Energy Efficiency theatre focusing on biofuels, hydrogen and electrification and how this roadmap can be used to time fleet upgrades and changes.

The seminar will also use a series of case studies to explore both technologies, employees engagement, alternative transport modes and fleet optimisation.

Register to attend Sustainability Live 2015 for FREE here.

Luke Nicholls

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