The City of London’s shift to electric and low emissions vehicles has been given a big nudge by Mayor Boris Johnson, after he unveiled new plans to further encourage their uptake.
The plans, announced on Wednesday, include lowering the congestion charge further for ultra low-emission vehicles and decommissioning grants to taxis that are more than 10 years old to encourage drivers to switch to electric cars.
The ULEV delivery plan also proposes increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points, and could even lead to the introduction of preferential access and lower parking charges for ULEV vehicles in some parts of London.
The Mayor’s Office has said it will “explore” this idea, and work with London’s boroughs to develop it.
The Independent reports that the Mayor’s new measures follow the recent announcement from the London Fire Brigade that 57 of its support vehicles would be replaced with hybrid electric models by 2016.
The Brigade also hopes to adopt low-emission fire engines, and has called on the industry to bring forward new technologies that could meet their demands.
The British capital city already has new hybrid buses, and the Independent reports that Transport for London (TfL) is looking to make the bus fleet even greener, by introducing more electric buses and new electric-only routes.
But as the paper also notes, this renewed push to ULEVs in London is possibly overdue, in light of the “shocking” air pollution mortality figures published last week.
“The UK has failed to comply with legally binding limits for levels of air pollution in 16 other cities and must now prepare a national air quality strategy by the end of the year,” said the chief of the British Lung Foundation, Dr Penny Woods.
“If this government is serious about cleaning up the air we breathe, a real world testing system for bus and taxi emissions to support local authorities achieve tighter targets is just one of the policies it should be taking into consideration.”