A new pollution-busting project will see the city council work with taxi operators to convert up to 80 Hackney Carriage cabs to run on Liquid Propane Gas (LPG).
Funding of £500,000 from the Government’s Clean Vehicle Technology fund has been secured for the scheme – overwhelmingly supported at a meeting of Hackney Carriage drivers, operators and the RMT union.
It is hoped the converted vehicles will help the council’s effort to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions, which have been reported to be above EU target levels in certain hotspots across the city.
The Birmingham Air Quality Management Area action plan focuses on Broad Steet, Navigation Street and New Street Station – all areas where taxis frequently operate.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, said: “This is a great boost for the council’s ambition to promote the uptake of low and zero carbon vehicles.
“We know there are some hotspots that need to be addressed, but these cabs will act as a showcase for cleaner technologies which could be used on a much wider basis.
“Many visitors, residents and those working in Birmingham pass through the hotspot areas, so it is only right to do everything we can to protect them from pollution that is known to be a contributory factor in hundreds of premature deaths every year.
“I hope the fact that so many cabs will be converted will act as inspiration to other fleet operators to consider making a similar investment into their vehicles. We will also continue exploring all other avenues as part of the effort to tackle the challenges we face on emissions.”
The scheme will be marketed through the council’s existing licensing networks with the taxi community. The focus is on 300 older vehicles in hotspot areas.
It is expected that the 80 selected vehicles will all be fitted with the LPG technology by the end of March 2015.