31 December 2004

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone will toughen up on some of London's biggest polluters over the next three years; the capital's 20,000 black cabs. Under his new Taxi Emissions Strategy, every taxi in London will have to be compliant with Euro III emissions standards by 1 January 2008. However, the cost of cleaning up the taxis will be met not by Transport for London, or by the Taxi drivers themselves, but by the fare-payer.

From 1 July 2006 all taxis of a pre-Euro emissions standard (approximately 2,400 in London) will have to meet Euro III requirements. On 1 January 2007 all Euro I-compliant taxis (roughly 8,700) will have to follow suit, and a year later, the Euro II-compliant cabs (5,400) will have to have cleaned up their act.

The cost of conversion will be met by a flat rate fare of 20 pence per journey from April 2005, on top of the usual cost of living rise. The Great London Authority is recommending that taxi owners and operators who will be forced to update should either replace their vehicle or vehicles with a newer, cleaner alternative, have a selective catalytic reduction system and particulate filter fitted, or convert to LPG.

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