BORIS Johnson's strategy on clean air has been slammed after a report indicated that new taxis are polluting the air more than older models.
Remote Sensing of NO2 exhaust emissions from Road Vehicles, produced by the Environmental research group at Kings College London, and funded by Defra, claims that new taxis produce more than twice the amount of deadly fumes that old cabs do.
Mr Johnson refused to license any taxis older than 15 years old in 2012 – forcing cab drivers to pay up to £40,000 for new vehicles.
But the Kings report reads: “There is a clear indication that absolute levels of NO2 emissions from taxis manufactured since around 2008 have been increasing. This is true for the LTI TX4, and the Mercedes Vito models.
“Given the intensity of taxi operations in the centre of London, the increase in levels of NO2 emissions from the newer taxi fleet is a matter of concern for local air quality management in general, and NO2 limit values in particular.”
Environmental campaigner David Davis has been campaigning since 2008 for improvements to air quality in London.
He said: “I'm extremely relieved that a reliable entity like Defra has admitted that the Mayor's strategy on clear air has failed.
“I feel outraged that this has been allowed to continue because thousands of people are dying.”
Commenting on the report's findings, its author David Carslaw stressed that the benefits of old and new taxis was complex and location dependent, but he added: “In one sense the newer taxis are worse than the older ones – for NO2, even when taking account of the fact they emit half the total NOx.”
Mr Johnson is legally responsible for introducing measures to tackle London's poor air quality, which is responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 Londoners – many in East London - each year.
The Mayor's office was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.