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Taxi drivers are being offered subsidies of more than £3,000 if they purchase electric and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) to help improve air quality in Bristol.

Bristol City Council is hoping to see up to 100 Hackney Carriage owners make the switch to a ULEV by offering a package of incentives made possible by a successful funding bid of £449,500 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

It is estimated that the scheme, which was announced this week during a taxi conference at City Hall, would produce more than a 20 per cent reduction in emissions across the whole taxi fleet, providing an immediate air quality benefit to the city.

The incentives are being offered over a five year period totalling £3,635 per proprietor, which will cover subsidies for a number of fees that are required for operating a taxi in Bristol.

Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, Cabinet Member for Transport at Bristol City Council, said: “It is great news that we were successful in our bid for government funding, which will allow us to help our taxi drivers to buy electric vehicles and reduce pollution in the city.

“Hackney Carriage taxis play an important role in Bristol’s public transport system, often providing trips that are difficult to replace by other modes of transport, such as trips for elderly and disabled people.

“However, frequent travel in the central area and higher level of idling means that they do also make a significant contribution to the current unacceptable levels of air pollution in the city, which we are determined to reduce.

“We also realise that running a business often involves juggling lots of different costs, so this scheme of financial subsidies will make it much easier for our taxi drivers to make an immediate difference to our air quality by switching to electric or low emission vehicles.”

The subsidy announcement coincides with the current implementation of a vehicle licensing policy aimed at improving vehicle emissions that requires between 250 and 300 Hackney Carriages to be ULEVs or fitted with Euro VI standard engines, which is the best environmental standard available.

The package of incentives on offer includes five year subsidies to cover the costs for:

  • Licencing fees at £187 per year.
  • Certificate of conformity fee at £50 per year.
  • Permit to operate at Temple Meads Railway Station at £490 per year.

For more information or to apply for the incentives contact the council licencing team 0117 3574900 or licensing@bristol.gov.uk.

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