Councils’ Air Quality Incentive scheme for taxi operators

Southampton and Eastleigh councils have set up a scheme that offers a cashback incentive for taxi owners, to help them replace older, more polluting vehicles.

Taxi air quality
AIR QUALITY: Councillor Hammond, third from the left, with representatives from the taxi sector and electric vehicle suppliers

Councillors and officers from Southampton City and Eastleigh Borough Councils met with taxi operators, representatives and drivers from across the areas in order to share news about the new Low Emission Taxi Incentive Scheme this morning. The local authorities have come together to set up the scheme that offers a cashback incentive for taxi owners, to help them replace older, more polluting vehicles with low emission alternatives. Held at Southampton Civic Centre, the event set out the authorities’ plans for supporting the taxi sector, the first group to be offered financial support of this sort, to help the move towards an eventual move to a Clean Air Zone in Southampton. The scheme is funded by DEFRA’s Air Quality Grant.

More than 30 representatives from the taxi industry, from both Southampton and Eastleigh attended to hear the latest update on the government’s proposed Clean Air Zones and the specific requirements placed on Southampton City Council.

Councillor Chris Hammond explained: “Whatever shape the Clean Air Zone takes, the government’s categories for implementation include taxis in each of them: for this reason we recognise that this sector are going to be hit regardless of what is put in place. So we’ve started by speaking with them first of all, and we aim to speak and work with every sector, and businesses over coming months.”

Cabinet Lead for Transport Councillor David Airey from Eastleigh Borough Council said: “We’re delighted to be able to work with Southampton City Council to provide some practical support for taxi operators from both areas. We hope we can support and encourage a move towards lower emission taxis that will majorly support an improvement in air quality.”

 The drivers were invited to join the Clean Air Network, a forum for everyone interested in making improvements to the quality of air. It is a platform for its members to make a clear commitment to improving air quality locally and where they can exchange related information to help make that happen.

For more details about the Low Emission Taxi Incentive, or the Clean Air Network, please email cleanairnetwork@southampton.gov.uk