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Politics and regulation

TfL will only licence plug-in hybrid or electric taxis

Transport for London (TfL) has changed the first-time licencing requirements for private hire taxis, in a bid to improve air quality.

From January 1, all private hire vehicles licensed for the first time will be required to be zero emission capable.

The previous requirement that came into force at the start of 2020 was that all vehicles under 18 months old and licensed for the first time had to be zero emission capable. This has led to 25% of all private hire vehicles now picking up passengers in London meeting these standards, with a number of the larger operators committing to having an all-electric fleet by 2025.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of Licensing and Regulation, said: “The taxi and private hire trade has embraced electric vehicles in recent years, with thousands already being used to pick up passengers from all corners of the capital. Toxic air in London is a public health emergency and this new requirement will act as a catalyst in significantly further reducing toxic emissions and carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to global warming.

“Drivers will benefit from London’s extensive charging network when needing somewhere to plug in, with more than 11,000 points across the city and close to 1,000 of those allowing a top up in 30 minutes or less. The switch to electric will also mean cheaper fuel costs when compared with petrol or diesel.

“We know that with the boom in electric vehicles, many more charging sites will be needed. London is on track to meet these projections, which we are supporting by making public land available and ensuring the fast charging points a world city needs are being built at pace and in significant numbers.”

TfL announced the zero emission capable requirement seven years ago to ensure that the industry was able to plan for this change. Since then, TfL said it has worked with the trade to ensure that it was prepared for this date.

Minicab drivers making the switch to fully zero emission vehicles will also benefit from the Cleaner Vehicle Discount, meaning they won’t have to pay the Congestion Charge until January 2026.

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