Nottingham’s ambitions to promote zero-emission taxis in the city have been given a £936,000 funding boost.
The Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has announced that Nottingham was successful in its bid for £702,064 – topped up to £936,090 through separate Government transport funds for Nottingham – to help convert the local taxi fleet to electric vehicles.
The money will be spent on installing 32 connection points at eight locations in and around the city dedicated for private hire taxis and hackney cabs to charge up. They could be installed as soon as summer this year.
Nottingham’s was one of ten bids which received funding announced by the Government at a new London Taxi Company Facility in Coventry on March 22 where new purpose-built electric taxis will be manufactured. Also announced was a new Plug-In Taxi Grant which will allow vehicle dealers to claim a grant of between £3,000 and £7,500 – making the vehicles cheaper for drivers.
The new funding supports the council’s challenging aims outlined in its new Taxi Strategy, which recognises the need to modernise the taxi fleet and improve the customer offer, not just around comfort and safety, but also around the environmental impact of taxi emissions. One of the key stumbling blocks to encouraging drivers to invest in electric vehicles is charging infrastructure, and this funding will remove that obstacle. It’s hoped that private hire operators already using electric vehicles will see this as an opportunity to increase their electric fleet and encourage hackney drivers to look into upgrading to electric vehicles, helped by the new grant.
The funding will support the council’s Go Ultra Low Nottingham Programme, which aims to see 8,000 low-emission vehicles on the city’s roads, along with proposals for a Clean Air Zone to be introduced by 2020 and schemes such as the Eco Expressway which will feature a dedicated low-emission vehicle lane.
Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability, Councillor Alan Clark, said: “On many occasions, the first experience that visitors to the city have is seeing and riding in a taxi. Having a modern, zero emission taxi fleet not only provides an important first impression but is crucial to help improve the city’s air quality and people’s health, which is a key priority. This money will fund the installation of charging points that will support the increasing uptake of low emission taxis.
Nottingham is leading the way on low emission transport transformation. This investment is in addition to our two new tram routes, the introduction of one of the largest electric bus fleets in the UK, our Eco Expressway to provide priority for green vehicles and our success in becoming one of the exemplar cities in the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Go Ultra Low City Scheme.”