Mike Tuffrey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, has uncovered that a £1m fund to trial low carbon technology in London's taxi fleet has not even been established nearly two-and-a-half years after it was first announced by Boris Johnson.
Last week the Mayor of London was forced to admit that no progress had been made to establish the fund, following a series of tough questions from Mike Tuffrey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Environment spokesperson, at a recent Mayor's Question Time at City Hall.
It has also emerged that a 'Cleaner Taxi Fund' designed to encourage taxi drivers to purchase the cleanest vehicles - in advance of new age limits on black cabs coming into effect - has also been delayed. This is despite the fact that this proposal was included in the Mayor's recent air quality strategy. The proposal was even promised to the European Commission as part of a package of short-term measures designed to avoid incurring £300m-worth of EU fines for breaching air quality limits across the capital.
Commenting on the Mayor's poor record Mike Tuffrey said:
"It's astonishing that nearly two-and-a-half years after first promising action to clean up London's taxi fleet the Mayor has failed on two of this key promises. Poor air quality in our capital accounts for an estimated 4,300 premature deaths each year, with taxis being the single biggest polluting vehicle in central London.
Highlighting the wasted opportunities from the Mayor's delay in supporting cleaner taxis Mike Tuffrey said:
"Since launching our 'Big Switch' campaign last year, which had the aim of switching London's taxis and buses electric by 2020, I've been approached by a number of zero-emission taxi makers who are ready to build clean, economic and efficient taxis suitable for London's needs. They would eliminate exhaust pollution, be more cost effective and ensure London retained an iconic vehicle design. An electric taxi for London would be good for the lungs of Londoners, but also provide far lower fuel bills for taxi drivers as well.
"The Mayor's dither and delay over these issues has been scandalous. It's clear the Mayor is failing in his duty to protect the health of Londoners"
1. In 2008, taxis were responsible for a roughly a quarter of all particulate emissions (PM10) in central London despite only accounting for 1% modal share of people entering the area in the during peak hours on weekday mornings"
2. Information on the impact of air pollution on the health of Londoners can be seen at: http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Health_Study_%20Report.pdfhttp://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Health_Study_%20Report.pdf
3. A copy of the 'Big Switch' report can be found on the The Big Switch plan was launched last Summer by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group. It proposed to switch all London taxis and buses to electric by 2020. For further information see: London Assembly Lib Dem website. and http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/making-the-big-switch-to-electric-in-london/201116117
4. Mike Tuffrey's question to the Mayor of London at Mayor's Question Time on the 22
February can be seen at http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts
starting at: 2 hours, 40 minutes and 50 seconds into the webcast.