RESIDENTS are to benefit from greener taxis in Cornwall following a £90,000 cash injection to Cornwall Council for new electric vehicle chargepoints.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has made the award to support ultra-low emission taxis across the county.
Announced by the Future of Mobility Minister Jesse Norman, the funding will be used to install five, fast and rapid electric vehicle chargepoints in Cornwall.
Taxis which are electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles will be able to use the charging points which will be installed next year.
Their locations will be announced by Cornwall Council later this year.
The scheme is part of a £6 million plan for 346 electric chargepoints across the UK in the Government’s bid for a zero emission future.
Cornwall has nine Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) and the Council is working to reduce emissions from vehicles as a key part of improving air quality in towns and villages.
Cornwall Councillor Sue James, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Cornwall Council is committed to making Cornwall greener and healthier and as part of our Clean Air for Cornwall Strategy we have a range of air quality projects and policies to help improve air quality across the county.
“Assisting taxis to be greener and reduce their emissions is just one of the projects we are bringing forward to improve air quality.”
Cornwall Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, said: “I welcome this funding from OLEV. This is a great opportunity for taxi drivers in Cornwall who want to reduce their emissions.
“We hope to have the chargepoints installed within the next year and will provide further details on their locations as soon as possible.”
The electric chargepoints scheme was open to bids by local authorities across the UK. Funding was awarded through a competitive process in which bids were evaluated against a published set of criteria.
Rapid charging (43/50kW) enables charging in 20-30 minutes for onward travel and fast charging (22kW) will enable day-to-day charging (up to about four hours) for electric vehicles or charging for plug-in hybrids.
Last month Cornwall Council passed an emergency climate change motion and called on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve the target for Cornwall to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Alongside work already underway to bring back nature, reduce traffic congestion, improve public transport, reduce waste and use renewable energy sources, this new project is further evidence of the Council’s ongoing commitment to reducing CO2 emissions and tackling climate change.
Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility Minister, said: “The Government wants all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. Getting the right infrastructure and investment in place is a crucial part of this.”
Richard Harrington, Automotive Minister, said: “The UK has led the world in cutting emissions while maintaining growth in our economy.
“These new charge points for greener taxis will help accelerate a cleaner environment for people across the UK. This will also point the way for a better, healthier future for us all as part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy which builds on the government’s long-standing partnership with the UK automotive sector.”
Under the Environment Act 1995 Cornwall Council is required to monitor air quality in the county against the Air Quality Objectives. If air pollution is higher than these national objectives, the Council has to designate an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and produce an Action Plan to improve air quality in the area.
Cornwall Council licences around 1,200 taxis (private hire and hackney carriage).