Sadiq Khan wants to pay black taxi drivers £42m to scrap the most polluting diesel cabs

Emma Haslett
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Owners of London taxis will be paid as much as £5,000 to scrap their old vehicles (Source: Getty)

Black taxi drivers will be paid up to £5,000 to scrap their old diesel cabs, under a new scheme to cut pollution in the capital.

Sadiq Khan launched a £42m fund today to encourage the owners of the oldest, most polluting diesel vehicles to replace them.

Under the scheme, which aims to cut pollution in central London by 45 per cent by 2020, owners of black cabs which are 10 years old will receive a grant of £5,000 to scrap their vehicles, sliding down to £1,200 for drivers of vehicles between 14 and 15 years old.

Read more: Is air pollution making you unhappy? These scientists think so

The mayor said no more new diesel taxis will be licenced in the capital from January in an effort to cut down on pollution in the capital. Research has suggested taxis are responsible for 16 per cent of the capital's nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, and 26 per cent of particulate matter road transport emissions in the capital.

In addition to the grants to scrap their vehicles, cabbies will also be given up to £7,500 to help them buy new plug-in zero emissions taxis.

Khan said the scheme will tackle "a health crisis that needs urgent action".

"The plans announced by the government this week [to ban sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040] go nowhere near the action needed.

"Cleaning up London's taxi fleet will play a significant part in our toxic air battle and there will be no new diesel taxis licenced in London by the end of this year.

"I hope this fund helps deliver a new generation of zero-emission taxis on our roads and paves the way for the government to offer a diesel scrappage scheme so all London motorists can ditch their dirty diesels."

Read more: UK Government to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2040

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