Oxford City Council plans to install £500,000 of electric car charging points for taxis and to phase out older, high-emitting hackney cabs from the city in another effort to reduce air pollution.
The City Council is working closely with COLTA (City of Oxford Licensed Taxicab Association) on the scheme, which will see 19 electric vehicle charging points installed for the exclusive use of hackney and private hire taxis. The aim is to install the first seven in 2018, and the remaining 12 during the following year.
The scheme also sets out, for the first time, the City Council’s intention in the future to set an age limit on all hackney carriages operating in Oxford of 18 years and require all newly-licenced hackney carriages to be ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
Latest air pollution data for Oxford indicates that, despite a 36.9 per cent drop in city centre air pollution over the last decade, nitrogen dioxide levels are sticking above the legal and safe levels in some city centre streets. Transport is responsible for about 75 per cent of air pollution in Oxford.
Councillor John Tanner, Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said:
“We are working with the County Council on plans to introduce a Zero Emission Zone from 2020, which will restrict access to Oxford city centre for emitting vehicles, and will go a long way to getting air pollution below legal limits. This new scheme will provide the electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help get Oxford’s hackney cabs ready for 2020.”
The charging points will be ‘rapid’ and ‘fast’ chargers to enable drivers to quickly charge batteries during breaks.
The locations will be finalised following consultation with drivers, but potential locations include Oxford Rail Station, Gloucester Green, London Road, Cowley Road, St Giles, Summertown car park, and Redbridge and Seacourt park and rides.
The City Council won £370,000 of funding from the Government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles for the project. The aim is to seek the remaining funding from private investment.
It is hoped that the infrastructure and licensing changes will see nitrogen dioxide emissions from Oxford’s 107 licenced hackney carriages reduce by 50 per cent by 2020. In addition the Government estimates that new electric cabs could save £2,800 a year in fuel costs compared to conventional black cabs.