London black cabs up to 30 times more ‘toxic’ than cars

Sadiq Khan says ‘damning report’ on taxi pollution shows need for upcoming ULEZ

(Image credit: 2016 Getty Images)

London’s iconic black cabs are producing up to 30 times more pollution than cars of the same age, a study has found.

The Real Urban Emissions (True) Initiative, a vehicle pollution research organisation, has discovered that the average nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions per kilogram of fuel produced by London taxis has “increased over the past five years”, Auto Express reports.

The study also suggests that Euro 5-compliant diesel cabs, registered before 2014, emit “at least 50% more NOx” than older Euro 4 and 3 models, the motoring magazine says.

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Describing the research as a “damning report”, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the data “reveals the stark health impact of polluting diesel taxis on our streets”.

He added that the study proves that initiatives such as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a daily charge for polluting vehicles that comes into effect in April, are “urgently needed” to combat rising emissions.

Meanwhile, Sheila Watson, from the UK-based charity the FIA Foundation, said: “Dirty vehicles have been clogging the air with their toxic exhaust fumes, and taking a huge toll on the health of Londoners, especially children, for too long.

“The data does show a worrying trend in regards to black cabs in London to make a disproportionate impact on London’s air quality,” she added.

The Chinese-backed London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), formerly the Coventry-based London Taxi Company, produced the TX4 Euro 5 engines that power the majority of black cabs, The Independent says.

In January, however, the company launched its first all-electric TX taxi as part of a £500m push to dramatically cut pollution, the news site says.

An LEVC spokesperson told the Independent that “more than a thousand LEVC electric taxis are now on the road in the UK and we are confident of further significant expansion of the fleet over the next few years”.

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